how to fire a difficult, long-time employee

A reader writes:

I work in a small office in a declining industry. Our salespeople have seen reduced commissions because they are based on sales, and the owners have taken pay cuts to avoid layoffs and cutting employee’s salaries.

One of our designers has been in the job since the company’s inception (20+ years) and has become increasingly difficult to deal with. Among other problems, they seem to feel we owe them something for sticking around so long and are now demanding that we pay them a high hourly freelance rate in addition to their salary – a salary that is the highest in the company aside from the owners. They’re rude and grumpy to other staff, and also seem to think that they are irreplaceable – but frankly we could hire someone with updated skills and who was easier to work with for less money.

We are an at-will state, so we don’t need a reason to fire this person, but I’m not sure how to handle letting a long-term employee go. What do you say to someone who has become so unreasonable in their demands that you just want to part ways?

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Boss posted Hawaii vacation photos right after layoffs
  • My new hire sprang major time off on me after I’d already hired her
  • My interviewers all burst out laughing after I left the room
  • My coworker constantly fact-checks everyone else

{ 137 comments… read them below }

  1. Keymaster of Gozer*

    Number 4, the laughing one? I know I was guilty of doing that after doing an interview, me and the IT director running it creased up laughing about 30-40 seconds after one person left.

    Reason? Director had left his phone on audible and his kid had put a, how shall we say, gassy noise as a ringtone. He got a text, FLLLRRRRPPPPP. Advice? Imagine that happened, laugh if you’re as immature as we were/are and go about the day with a chuckle.

    1. AdAgencyChick*


      Please tell me you ended up hiring this person and explaining to them later (preferably by playing the ringtone for them).

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I honestly cannot remember if that was the guy we hired or not! We saw a lot of people that day.

        Director did put his phone on silent for the rest of the day, and I hear had words with his kid about not messing with Daddy’s work gear. Still, it broke up a very long day of interviews.

    2. Smithy*

      First – absolutely amazing.

      I would also add that while interviewers usually know intellectually that they have more power than those they are interviewing, there is also that switch of having an “external” vs “internal” meeting. And that once the external piece is over, there’s that exhale shift where you go back to your internal colleagues. If in that moment you get a fart text or realize you’ve conducted the whole interview with a large coffee stain on your pants, it can register as a lot funnier.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I always assume unexpected laughter is either a fart or someone accidentally flipping a pen, paperclip or other object in someone’s direction.

      We also did laugh one time during an interview but it was because the candidate made a joke comment about how “Well I could also always go work at Microsoft, I hear they’re hiring.” and we started howling but thankfully we calmed down and explained that we’re hiring for the position because the previous person…left us for Microsoft.

      Afterwards we cracked up again and was like “Too soon, too soon.”

    4. Trout 'Waver*

      I was on a panel interview (not my style, but w/e) and the first candidate went on at great length about a particular derail, let’s say his pet lizard. After the second candidate left, one of my colleagues made a quip to the tune of “it’s a shame, we never got to hear about this candidate’s pet lizard.” The delivery was perfect and it made us all laugh.

      If a group of interviewers were to laugh at a candidate immediately after they left, I would imagine that would show itself in other ways too. Keep an eye out, but I’d personally dismiss this as harmless and unintentional.

    5. Babblinglib*

      Also guilty and was a bit freaked out she heard us. We had been interviewing candidates all morning and they were all FANTASTIC. We were getting more concerned as it went on. Making a final decision was going to take forever trying to narrow down who to offer to. Before I got the last candidate, I told the panel that the odds are this would have to be a terrible candidate, because i could not handle another superstar….AND SHE WAS AWESOME. She left, I put my head in my hands and they laughed at my pain. I was mortified she heard, but she got the job and said she didn’t. (We have also laughed when a colleague spilled coffee over himself and the nervous candidate did not notice, so he powered through…but squirmed the whole time…so much mocking when the door closed after the interview)

    6. Mama Bear*

      I agree with AAM….any number of reasons for laughing, and unlikely to be about the interviewee. However, I do think OP should think about why they had this immediate reaction and were ready to pull out of the process over this. If the company brings you in to talk, you look good on paper (or did a good phone interview). Prospects are good. Why let this possibly (probably) not about you moment derail your employment? If OP is very sensitive about people’s reactions to them in general, that’s something they should work on, for their own future happiness.

    7. Katie H.*

      I am coming with my own post interview giggle fit. I was sitting in as a member of HR learning about our interview process, and the department head said something so blatantly wrong it was absurd mid-interview. She clearly knew it right after she said it, but pushed on. The rest of us just stone faced it because she would be upset at being corrected. When the candidate left, the department head just asked “I said the completely wrong thing, didn’t I?” And the rest of us burst into giggles. I believe we didn’t end up hiring that candidate, but it had nothing to do with that interview.

    8. Alice's Rabbit*

      I was interviewing, and after I left the room, I heard flatulence, followed by a sheepish, “Sorry, I’ve been holding that in for half an hour!” Everyone still in the room laughed uproariously.
      Something like that is far more likely than the interviewers all laughing at the OP.

  2. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    Fact checking the weather? Oh my! It sounds like a strategy to help her feel more important somehow. It could also be that she feels generally really left out and has found this way to be part of the conversation, feel like she’s in control of the conversation a bit, even if its a bit of a forced entry. Gently share Alison’s script in private… I would not reply all.

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      How does she have time to work and do the fact checking?!?
      And why is her boss not asking her that?

    2. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      I mean, we would fact check the weather in my office, but only as a joke! And by fact check, I mean asking the coworker who used to be a meteorologist things like if it was really going to rain today during a thunderstorm. (Coworker was always a good sport about it, and we only asked when the answer was really obvious.)

      1. Emi.*

        Hi, this is the weather report, and there’s a thirty percent chance that it’s already raining right now!

    3. Dust Bunny*

      I have a college classmate who is from a specific northeastern city that seems to think it’s the center of the universe. I’m from a southern city better known for industry than anything else. In the middle of a discussion on something political I reminded Classmate that my city hadn’t elected a Republican mayor in nearly 4o years, and had in fact elected an “out” lesbian before any other major US cities.


      As though I’d be wrong about this and as though I’d say such a thing without making sure I knew what I was talking about.

      I did not unfriend him but he is now blocked from a lot of my Facebook posts. I don’t need any more secondhand ego in my life, thanks.

      1. GreenDoor*

        On social media, I get doing the fact checking. I do it too, only because there is so much nonsense, conspiracy theories, embelleshed photoes, etc., and I don’t want to share something that may be bogus.

        But at work?? The weather? Just….no.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          This wasn’t a matter of viewpoint, though. It was a straight-up accounting of the political party affiliations of our mayors since the early 1980s. There is literally a list on Wikipedia. There was nothing theoretical about it. He just couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that we weren’t the deep-Red backwater he assumed we were.

          1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

            Haha this is great because now I think we’re from the same hometown and it makes me SO happy to know you schooled a Yankee!

            *Goes to wikipedia to verify my hypothesis XD

          2. PJS*

            I’ve been living in your southern town for over a decade and while I’ve seen the same Wikipedia list, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that I’m not living in a deep-Red backwater. I don’t know where all these Democrats are, but my employer is so red that one of our board members has a Confederate flag sticker on his bumper, several vocal red employees clearly are under the assumption that the rest of us feel the same way they do, I didn’t see a single Hillary sign outside the polling place in 2016 while every square inch of grass had a Trump sign sticking out of it, and the comments I see on the local news sites lean very heavily to the right (I’m so tired of the Dora and Turnip comments).

          3. tamarack and fireweed*

            It seems to me some people have an impairment when it comes to judgement about whether to say something out loud or keep it silent. If the co-worker is surprised about the political profile of your home town they can check up on the facts. It’s a free country. But when the result comes out as “Dust Bunny did indeed know what they were talking about” this should be the *expected* result and not something announced to the world. A little bit of self-awareness goes a long way.

      2. Cercis*

        You’re from Houston? Houston gets confused with Dallas all the time. Everyone expects Austin to be “groundbreaking” but they forget Houston (one of the largest cities in the US) and San Antonio. I was listening to a podcast and someone claimed to be the first Black mayor of a “top 10 city” and this was well after San Antonio had elected a Black woman as mayor (San Antonio is #7 by population, or was at the time). It’s why I never say I’m from Texas (besides the fact that I’m not from here, I just live here) but instead say “I live in Austin” because it changes their whole perception.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          I had to hire an intern at work and the best CV by far was a guy from Texas. My immediate reaction was “not a Texan” (thinking Bush dynasty). But since the other CVs were all pretty dismal I ended up inviting him in, telling myself “Rebel, that’s reverse racism if you don’t want to hire a Texan. And your average redneck Texan wouldn’t be studying in Paris, France anyway.” He came in for an interview and I immediately twigged that he was gay, and then he told me he was from Austin and that Austin was not the same as the rest of Texas.
          He turned out to be a great intern and we’ve been very firm friends ever since.

    4. Richard Hershberger*

      If I were a better person, it would not have occurred to me to have everyone in the office arrange ahead of time to barrage this person with facts, with a few carefully selected errors–or better yet, ambiguities–tossed into the mix. Indeed, I see endless entertainment potential here. I call dibs on Alexander Hamilton’s birthday!

      1. ginger ale for all*

        I would go for George Washington’s birthday. He had two separate ones. They changed from a Julian calendar to a Gregorian one while he was alive and it changed his birthday from February 11, 1731 to February 22, 1732. This way, you have two correct answers to fact checked on and most people don’t believe you when you tell them this.

  3. AutoEngineer57*

    I totally agree with Allison on this one regarding the interviewers laughing!

    The first thing I thought while reading the letter was that they had shared something amongst each other that was funny (especially in the world of memes these days). But, I can TOTALLY understand the immediate gut reaction that they were laughing about you, OP. It’s natural when you’re already nervous and your brain is trying to find any stimulus to see how they feel about you.

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      And as far as working with them if they do hire you – unless you got other red flags, let this go.

    2. Threeve*

      My brain would also immediately leap to the laughter being about me, but I am also the type of person who thinks “oh my god, what did I do??” when I hear sirens, even if I’m on the bus.

      Maybe there was a mean comment, but it was “well, looks like we don’t have to worry about (intensely disliked internal candidate) getting the job!”

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I was that person for the longest time, then one day I realized that no one is really thinking about me. Everyone is too busy worrying about how *they* come across and whether people are laughing at *them* to pay me any mind. I have had some judgmental ex-friends or relatives, but total strangers, at a job interview, no.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          “Dance as if nobody’s watching. Because they aren’t, they’re checking their phones”

      2. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        “am also the type of person who thinks “oh my god, what did I do??” when I hear sirens, even if I’m on the bus.”
        We are getting married. Our children will be smart AND beautiful.

    3. LCH*

      i would also feel very self conscious about that, but regardless of all the bad behavior we hear about on this blog, most employers are too mature to collectively laugh at an interviewee. i’ve never seen it happen, and i’ve sat in on or conducted a lot of interviews.

    4. tamarack and fireweed*

      Yeah. I can totally see that I would factor it in if, for example, the panel was already coming across as unprofessional and condescending, and/or the laughter sounded unpleasant and spiteful.

      But a large-ish interview panel breaking out into a general laugh that comes across as just a release of tension or a reaction to a joke that would be within the bounds of what’s work appropriate? Not likely to be about the candidate and not likely to be a problem, and the OP shouldn’t be thinking it would be hard to work with these people again.

      Because it is of course *possible* that there’s something inappropriate going on, there’s a case where I have a lot of empathy for the OP: candidates especially from underrepresented groups may be inclined to assume the worst: after all they may have experienced inappropriate discriminatory behavior before. But in the absence of clear indications that this is going on it’s not helpful to go down this route. If an offer arrives it’s a good idea to assume that all is well, and if it’s a “no” it is not productive to speculate about the stray group laugh.

      Conversely candidates often aren’t aware that interviewing is a stressful task, too. There may be a lot riding on this next hire, the time to serve on the panel may not come with a reduction in the rest of one’s work load, and long days of interviewing require a lot of focus. Making a harmless, non-derogatory joke can help keep the spirits of the panel positive and refresh one’s mind. From my experience the most likely thing it might have been is something along the lines of “I’ve been watching your coffee cup creep closer and closer to the table edge all through this interview and was wondering if I would have to spring up for a heroic safe!”

  4. just a small town girl*

    LW 4, I can imagine how that makes you feel but I have had an occasion where we started laughing after someone left the room (not an interview) but it was a higher up and after they left I remarked how I realized when I was shaking their hand that one of my dress shirt’s buttons over my boobs had come undone and I hoped I hadn’t accidentally flashed my boss’s boss(a woman), and the whole room(of women) had a good laugh about how often that happens when wearing button-downs. So just another anecdote of it probably being nothing related to you directly!

    1. knitcrazybooknut*

      I really hate button downs. I bought a dress for a holiday party one year that buttoned all the way down. Super cute, looked great on me, but then not only did another person wear the SAME DRESS to the event, but when I sat down for the first time, it was obvious that they hadn’t used enough buttons. The gap was astounding, and I ended up having to tuck my shirt into my bra to keep it closed. CLASSY.

      1. Filosofickle*

        One of the things my mom taught me was to sit down in the dressing room (if possible) in the garment. You learn valuable info about how things fit / lay / gap that way!

        1. Alice's Rabbit*

          Sit, stand, raise your arms, bend over, jump, lean side to side, twist… all good things to do when trying on clothes. Yes, some clothes obviously won’t be suitable for some of those movements, but the general theory still stands.
          And being busty, I invested in a bunch of those fake-camisole inserts that clip to my bra. They fill in the gap nicely with button-downs, cover in case a v-neck shirt gapes when I bend over, etc. They come in lots of fun colors, too. And they don’t add the extra bulk and heat of another layer on the whole torso.

  5. Sam*

    I actually had an interview end in laughter just recently! We interviewed someone who was clearly not a fit for our role, which became obvious just a few minutes in. But we didn’t wrap up the interview right away because the candidate was so funny, charming, and had some fascinating life stories to share. After being absolutely sure the interview was over and they couldn’t hear us, we found ourselves laughing at just what a crazy hour it had been and how unexpectedly things had gone, and ultimately recommended the candidate to another department in our organization that they were a WAY better fit for.

    I’ve had my share of truly bad interviews and they’ve never left me laughing – it’s exhausting, and I usually just wrap things up ASAP. Laughter after an interview is generally a good thing!

  6. learnedthehardway*

    OP#1 – I would look at whether you can salvage the long term employee before firing them. It can cost quite a bit to hire someone, plus, they have a learning curve. There’s also the issue of whether it looks to employees or potential candidates that your company gets rid of senior people (regardless of whether this person is grumpy or not, other employees might think twice about remaining loyal).

    If the person doesn’t respond well to being told that the salary is frozen for the time being, and that they need to consider whether they want to stay, and if so, their behaviour needs to improve, well, then I wouldn’t hesitate to part ways with them. But I would want to be able to truthfully tell remaining employees that the company did their best to retain the person, and that they were treated fairly on their way out (including the severance package that Alison suggested).

    1. OP#1*

      I’m pretty sure this is a letter I wrote a while back – it’s being “revisited!” and I can provide an update. Because the employee (Arya) had been complaining so much about their workload, we’d hired a second person (Sansa) for that department – Sansa quit after a day of working with Arya, and later told us that Arya’s constant complaining was the reason. I reached out to another applicant (Jon) and luckily they were able to start the next day. Arya at this point had stopped doing all work, until we paid her what she demanded and Jon was able to step in and take over as if they’d been there for years. Jon has other side gigs, works for us part time by choice, getting more done than the Arya in less time. When we refused her demands, Arya chose to leave.
      As for the rest of the staff, they were relieved because Arya had been a drag on morale for a long time, and at least one other person had quit because of Arya. Why no one said anything, I have no idea, but we do not fire people much – Arya had been there the longest, but the newest person before Jon had been with us for 10 years. So everyone has a lot of seniority. Jon’s been with us for 4 years now, and he’s still the newest.

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        Most people don’t give an honest answer as to why they’re leaving, especially when it’s due to a difficult colleague or manager. They’ve likely already given feedback and been ignored. Plus, if the bad behavior is on public display as it was in this case, they assume the malevolent employee is protected or in the good graces of the boss or owner. They don’t want to burn bridges and potentially torpedo a reference.

        Part of being a manager is proactively looking for these issues and dealing with them. Throwing your hands in the air and saying “Well, nobody told me” is abdicating that responsibility. They likely did, in their own ways.

        1. Mama Bear*

          Sometimes people think it’s not productive to vent about a coworker on their way out. It might be better to have an open door and encourage people to speak up to their management chain so issues can be addressed before the resignation. Key word “addressed” as so often people who leave b/c of a particular person have felt unheard before they quit. That was me a couple of jobs ago – when it became clear that “your boss sucks and isn’t going to change”, I left. It wasn’t for lack of speaking up. It was lack of being heard/having issues addressed.

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        This person has vast seniority, and you don’t fire people: It’s a mystery why people just leave? I would probably tell you, on the way out the door, but that’s me. I can’t blame anyone for not taking on the potential grief.

      3. Dave*

        This is a situation where I might be willing to use capital to say something to the boss once about a morale killing co-worker but from what you described as everyone being there forever I would probably feel like I was wasting my breath. In that case I would find ways to work around them and avoid them as much as possible and have a mini-party every time they went on vacation. As a boss I think that is something to notice -how is the office when different people are on vacation for a week?

      4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Most people will never complain, they will just bite their tongue and leave when the chance comes. It’s self preservation at it’s finest!

        This is why was a manager if you see someone is being a big red flag, waving straight at the bull you’re in charge of managing, you have to step in and fix it without waiting for someone to say “Hey, hey, hey Arya is waving a red flag over there!” to jump on it.

        I’m glad it shook out because I hate energy sucking people like Arya but she shouldn’t have been allowed to ruin people’s experiences for so long. As soon as someone refuses to do work, you remove them and don’t just let them make the final decision. It’s great to not fire people easily but come on now, you have to take care of your team better than that [general you, you personally only have so much power and the company itself is at fault for letting this stone stay around their collective ankles so long].

      5. Kevin Sours*

        Why don’t people complain on their way out? The best case scenario is that a problem that no longer affects them gets solved. Worst case is that somebody gets upset over the feedback and spikes their reference. Not really a lot of upside there.

        1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

          Agreed, and there are more reasons:

          They’ll be asked why they didn’t say something before. Duh.

          The possibility that they’ll be welcomed back to the company in future, goes out the window.

  7. still cringing*

    “Really, the most likely scenario is that the laugh wasn’t about you at all!”

    When this happened to me at age 25, it was because I had inadvertently left the (clearance) price tags on my suit, which I realized once I got back to the car. I did not tell anyone about that. for. Years.

    But if a reason did not become readily apparent within the hour – probably not you.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This could still not be the reason they were laughing! I’ve never found it funny when someone left a tag on their clothes. It’s a “Oh dang, you missed something!” moment. Just like if I notice someone has their shirt inside out or backwards or toilet paper on their shoe, etc. That’s not a classic funny moment like a fart or a perfectly timed burp as someone is exiting “Phew, held it until the serious time was over!” kind of moment.

      1. Triumphant Fox*

        Agreed. I don’t know why I find it so mortifying when I do something like this, because when anyone else does it, I just think “I want to fix that for you!”

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Not that long ago, I realized I had two different earrings in. Either nobody noticed or nobody cared enough to tell me.

          I learned years ago that “mortified” feeling is a hold over from childhood, when kids would belittle each other for the most asinine things that were “different” or out of the norm. So I just learned to laugh and be all “But did you die?”?

          1. OrigCassandra*

            Just how some people roll. It would never occur to me to say anything on seeing two different earrings!

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Fair enough! But one was a Christmas one in the middle of summer, I still don’t know how it even happened so imagine my “LOLWTF” minute when I was in the restroom washing my hands and checked the mirror.

            2. Exhausted Trope*

              I wear two different earrings all the time as long as they are complementary in theme and color. It’s fun!

          2. Gray Lady*

            If I saw someone with different earrings in a situation where it was likely it was unintended, I confess I would probably do the “look down while not entirely successfully concealing a smile” thing. Not because I think it’s funny when people embarrass themselves, but in an “oh you poor thing I can totally see myself doing that and would feel awful if anyone noticed” sort of way. And unfortunately, the other person might perceive that as scorn where it was not intended. But uproarious laughter? Nah. I can’t see an entire room full of adults being so unprofessional and mean-spirited as to laugh out loud after a person’s minor gaffe the moment they walked out the door.

          3. Phoenix from the ashes*

            One of my colleagues once went on a rant to me about people who wear different earrings. I had 4 piercings and was wearing a different earring in each that day (as I usually did). She was… embarrassed, lol.

            Now, going shopping wearing two odd shoes, of different colours and different height heels, and (apparently) limping all the way round the supermarket, on the other hand… *looks sheepish*

            1. allathian*

              The two different shoes thing happened once, on my first day at a new job, too! That was embarrassing… but I got over it. Luckily the shoes were the same model, but they were really comfortable for being pumps, so I had two pairs, one black, the other navy blue.

              1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

                Hehe. You’ve just reminded me that I did exactly the same thing. I had the same very plain, flat pumps, in navy and black and one day I wore one from each pair to the office. I don’t think anyone noticed. I only realised when I leaned down to get something out of my bag on the floor and got up close to the errant footwear.

      2. Cercis*

        After my brother’s wedding, when the wedding party was finally back down the aisle and out the door, his best man said “phew, we made it, no one tripped” and we all started laughing. I laughed even though I had no idea why he would say it, but a couple of others laughed because they were at the wedding where a groomsman had tripped and knocked over the candles and all kinds of things happened quickly.

        The videos from the wedding (from inside the church) have this sudden laughter coming from outside and all the guests turning to look and being confused. Which made us laugh even harder.

    2. hbc*

      You know, it might have been about your tags, but it might not have even been mean. Like, they could have made a joke about how the accountants will be happy because you won’t be blowing money like the last guy. Or how they were just having a conversation yesterday that the best person for the job usually has something that goes very wrong in their interview. Or they don’t really care at all, but someone had made a joke after the previous interview that the last guy looked too slick and it was like you were the answer to that joke. Or that they had all been dying to give you a heads up about it but they had a super strict script from which they couldn’t deviate.

  8. Grits McGee*

    I had a roommate who would fact check my personal anecdotes as I was saying them. I adapted by just never being in the apartment at the same time as her, but I imagine that’s probably harder to arrange in a work setting.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        You can check someone’s story by checking out their details…

        If someone is telling you a fantastic story about Friday night, which included being rained on and being stranded in all white without an umbrella, you can indeed be all “But it hasn’t rained in months…where was this again? Imma check the weather for Friday night in that area, I don’t believe this happened that way.”

        1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

          Or if the anecdote mentions another person who was present, you could ask the other person for their take on the story. (Or if the story indeed happened at all. I had a college friend who was a great storyteller, but I’m pretty sure his stories were more entertaining than accurate, based on the reactions I got from relaying some of the stories to a mutual friend who’d attended high school with college friend.)

          1. WFH with Cat*

            Thanks, Daughter of Ada and Grace, and The Man, Becky Lynch.

            I thought I was a pretty good snoop, and I will relentlessly Google anyone or anybody, but even I never thought to fact-check a personal story to confirm weather details, etc. Interesting.

        2. Environmental Compliance*

          How a college roommate did this to me was by butting in and being an absolute ass while still being completely wrong.

          Example: I called the Marine’s dress uniform “dress blues” in telling a story about my grandpa. He interrupted me to tell me I was mistaken, those are the Navy’s, and the Marines have dress whites, and have never had blue uniforms, and he knew better than me because he was “a military historical expert”. He then googled “dress whites” and showed me a Navy officer’s picture, which I knew because 1) I have Navy in the family as well and 2) it physically said Navy in the photo’s caption. He did this to me all the time, and never to the other roommates, who were all male. Another one included basic chemistry concepts, which IIRC included whether electrons were in the nucleus.

          The sort of person who fact-checks personal anecdotes is generally a very tiresome sort of person in most circumstances.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            This is such insufferable behavior and reminds me why I was blessed to never get stuck with roommates over the years. They’d quickly hate me because I don’t handle Sheldon Coopers nicely.

          2. Tabby*

            What? Don’t the Marines also have blue dress uniforms? I don’t pay that much attention to military uniforms, but I always assumed they had more than one color of dress/not dress uniforms, depending on what it was for.
            Also, your ex roomie sounds obnoxious. Sheesh, who argues about a military uniform, when it probably wasn’t that important to the story what color you called them? I think it would only matter if you needed to describe the Marine to the police, or something like that.

            1. D'Arcy*

              Historically, uniform colors are mostly a seasonal variation — blues are for winter, whites are for summer. However, the Marines’ cultural signature is definitely the Dress Blues which are shown in almost *every* recruiting poster and advertisement, whereas Navy officers are more commonly seen in Dress Whites.

              But as of 2000, the Marines replaced their summer Dress Whites with Dress Blue/Whites consisting of a blue coat over white trousers. The Blue/White uniform had previously been reserved only for certain special ceremonial units. There is also a Dress Red uniform, which is exclusively used by Marine musician units.

    1. Jeff in Ohio*

      Yes, I hate those people. I call them “prosecuting attorneys,” because no matter how innocuous the story you tell, they try their best to cross-examine you and pick it apart. I was telling about something that happened my first quarter at college and someone had to pipe up, “[College name] is on semesters, not quarters!” They were on quarters when I went there, doofus, and what does it matter?

      1. allathian*

        I hear you. I can’t stand people like that, either. I sure wouldn’t want to work with a “prosecuting attorney” like that. I’d probably clam up with them and stick to purely work topics, but it would be exhausting.

    2. Liz*

      I have a friend/neighbor who’s like that. She not only will fact check, but has to have the last word, and quite frequently, will go off on tangents about anything and everything. Like if I say something happened because of x, and x is reasonable, she’ll come back with some wild idea or reason that makes absolutely no sense to anyone BUT her.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I have a brother. It took years to speak up, i’m the youngest of a bunch. The final moment,
        I was telling a story to extended family at a party about our house where I lived with our parents, where he hadn’t lived in 30 years. I started to say, “there was a mouse that ran through my room…”
        Bro jumped in, “No, there were no mice in the house. You must have…”
        I Kanye’d. “Ima let you finish…telling your story about what happened to me, in my room, in my house, where I live. After I tell MY story about what happened to ME, in MY room, in MY house, where I live. and then (i couldn’t stop myself) you can finish telling everyone what what happened to me, in my room, in my house, where I live.”
        “I just thought…”
        “Well stop. You always announce things from the mount, are told they are wrong and then say, “I just thought” AFTER arguing about it.”

  9. Anonforthis*

    OP#1 – it seems you’ve already reached the conclusion that now is the time to part ways with the employee. I understand, when I joined an new org I had to counsel out several people and it’s really tough. Before you have the convo, figure out what you need from this person before you part ways. Is a sudden departure possible? If its burdensome, you’ll need to guess how this person will respond when you give them the news and whether you’re willing to take the risk (if you think there is one) of a sour response . Then, I would look at what you can offer for severance, and consider a generous package. Standard is one week for every year employed, if you can throw in a little extra to extend any healthcare coverage (so employee doesn’t have to pay cobra out of severance), even better. Third, figure out what type of recommendation you all are willing to give if the person goes quietly. Fourth, discuss whether you’ll want to contest unemployment if the person files. Finally, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND a NDA. This is standard for all our separations and gives you peace of mind. If the employee is over 40, they can take time to review it before signature (as I’m sure you’re aware). Once all that is lined up you can use the script Alison laid out. I would emphasize thanking them for their incredible contributions, but it’s time for the company to go in a new direction and you need to discuss a transition. If the employee presses you can say that some of their recent requests have demonstrated that the company isn’t able to meet their expectations, and it’s no longer a good fit. Just as a FYI – I’ve only had one employee ever who was able to keep working after a convo like this. It’s really tough. Good luck.

    1. In response to she who is surely an HR person*

      An NDA needs consideration. WHAT ARE YOU PAYING THE EMPLOYEE?

      If the employee is over 40, they can take time to review it before signature (as I’m sure you’re aware).

      In point of fact — anyone, over 40 or under — can take time to review legal documents before signature. Signatures obtained under duress are invalid. As I’m sure you’re aware.

      1. Granger*

        @In response, you’re right, but it seems @Anon was pointing out the fact that the OP’s employee is in a protected class as a 40+ and requires additional caution in the approach.

  10. whistle*

    I disagree that the boss posting Hawaii pictures is in poor taste. What the heck is facebook for if not to post vacation pictures?

    I agree that boss never should have friended OP, but they did, and that’s not what OP asked about.

    I get why it stings OP, but that doesn’t mean the boss had any responsibility to take this into account when trying to share vacation photos with their personal network.

    1. Millennial Lizard Person*

      Right, but because the manager had friended all his employees, it’s kind of a jerk move to show them off to people who you know are now unemployed.

    2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      I agree that it was slightly inconsiderate, but the boss paid for his vacation with his own money (and possibly his family’s or significant other’s own money) whereas the layoffs came out of the company’s money.

      While it’s always more polite to not flash one’s disposable income in front of others who may be struggling, ultimately, the two things are not related to each other.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        I agree with your take.

        Presumably, the boss paid for his vacation well before he knew about layoffs. And even if he didn’t, he’s not morally obligated to cancel a vacation just because other people can’t afford one right now. It doesn’t even benefit the laid off people – it would just mean no one gets a vacation. And if he’s not morally obligated to cancel it, then why isn’t he allowed to post about it? Posting pictures from family vacations is an incredibly normal thing to do on Facebook.

        I get that its rubbing salt in the wound, but in the grand scheme of things its not really a slight I’d get too hung up about. He didn’t post vacation pictures *at* you.

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          If the boss sent photos directly to his former colleagues or tagged them on FB, I would agree he was rubbing salt into a still-new and painful wound. Posting vacation pics on FB may come off as a *little* blithe, but I wouldn’t consider it an insult.

        2. Home Away from Work*

          Rubbing salt in the wound is the company cancelling the holiday party and annual bonuses because they didn’t hit their revenue numbers for the year, but still having a no-holds-barred getaway week for the sales team “for hitting their sales numbers”.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I agree with you here.

      It’s easy to take things personally when in reality, it’s not personal in the slightest.

      Most people are just living their lives, they aren’t trying to rub salt into your fresh wounds. When you’re hurting, you really should think about distancing yourself from things that can cause you this kind of stinger. Just like how many folks will dodge social media on specific days [Mother’s Day/Father’s day comes to mind for people who are still grieving their losses.]

      1. Antilles*

        100% agree.
        Facebook is where many people just document their life. And sometimes, that documentation can hit people awkwardly or at a bad time – Mother/Father’s Day for grieving people, seeing photos of friends’ kids when you’re struggling with infertility, seeing a happy married couple if your relationship is struggling/non-existent. None of those people are posting things specifically to hurt you, nor does it seem reasonable to expect them to go through their friends list and decide “okay, who might be affected by this post and should be removed from visibility”.
        Besides, it’s so person-specific that it’d require questionable assumptions to even tell *who* would be hurt by seeing your posts. OP was apparently hurt by seeing the boss on vacation. Many others (as these comments show) wouldn’t care in the slightest. Some might even go so far as to sympathize with the boss in a “hell, if I had to lay off 40 people, I’d want to get drunk on a beach too” kind of way. All of these are perfectly reasonable human reactions, but how do you know who’s going to have which reaction?

      2. Alice's Rabbit*

        You can also temporarily unfollow someone for 30 days. I’ve done this a few times, like one friend who posts incessant stressful rants in the weeks leading up to a major twice-yearly deadline. Or my ex’s best friend right after my break up. We were still friends, but I needed some time without constant reminders of my ex.
        Unfollowing your boss, even temporarily, is a good idea after being laid off. You don’t need the stress of seeing him post… anything. Because good or bad, it’s just going to frustrate you at that point.

    4. kittymommy*

      I agree as well. While they probably shouldn’t be friends on Facebook (regardless of who did the friending) it’s not like he’s having his vacation *at* them and I certainly don’t go through a mental checklist of all of my Facebook friends when I post pictures, especially something as innocuous as family vacation photos.

      1. Just Another Zebra*

        True, but why bother? As others have said, he didn’t take vacation *at* them. He took a vacation with his family and posted some pictures. It isn’t as if he tagged all the former coworkers in the pics and said something like “haha, look what I can do”. I think OP is justifiably upset about the layoff, and this is just a one more thing scenario.

        It is, however, an endorsement not to friend subordinates on social media.

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        He probably just didn’t think about it at the time, or maybe the boss isn’t very Facebook savvy and doesn’t realise you can do it.

        But even when you do know how to do that, it’s easy to forget. I’m definitely guilty of not realising I should have made one particular post family free after one of my relatives sent a rude response to someone she doesn’t even know who had commented on it.

    5. NYWeasel*

      I’m solidly in the camp that the boss is not in the wrong here, and speaking from experience, the vacation photos from a trip that likely was booked months earlier are not going to sting nearly as much as the inevitable “Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been here 10 years already! #LoveMyJob” or “Haha look at how nice we clean up! (Picture of holiday party)” or even “I never thought when I started that they’d promote me to VP of the New England regional sales team! Truly #blessed!” sorts of happy chatter that people post months and years later, when the layoffs seem like old news to them but it still feels like a kick in the pants that you got let go before you were ready to leave.

    6. Richard Hershberger*

      I would, absent reason to believe otherwise, take it as being thoughtless, in the literal sense of the word. He posted the pictures on Facebook, because that is what people do (or so I am told), without thinking that recently laid off former employees would see it.

    7. Colette*

      Yes, unless the boss was the owner of the business, she’s just living her life. And sometimes people go on vacation regardless of whether they were laid off (because they can totally disconnect from work, because they’ve already paid for it and won’t get the money back, because they’re not thinking ahead and have severance pay to spend).

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        And if the boss was the business owner, then it’s still not a big deal. Because they’re going to usually not take a massive pay decrease to avoid layoffs because it’s not reasonable.

        It could be prepaid as well. I’m not going to just cancel my prepaid plane ticket to Hawaii because I had to make some tough business decisions and cut jobs.

        It’s like all those times someone has something booked that’s non-refundable and then lose their jobs…you can just not go but it’s already paid for…so unless you’re going to be out a lot of cash for getting to the airport or getting to your prepaid hotel accommodations, just go.

      2. Jackalope*

        And for all we know the money for the trip came from the spouse’s wages, or a gift from parents, or being caller #25 on the radio station, or…. Maybe the boss’s wages didn’t even cover it. Not that it matters in this case but that could be.

  11. Cruciatus*

    For the employee with the trips planned, while obviously they did not go about this well, I wonder if it might just be easier to push back her start date until after the European vacation? Still not ideal, but then there’s no rush to have her get those papers done, and get some training in, just to hurry up and wait for all her trips to be over. Hopefully they prove(d) to be a stable employee after this!

    1. cmcinnyc*

      I would agree. We’ve had new people start and immediately take vacation, but it was something that had been agreed to in advance. However, it just never works well. It starts everyone off on the wrong foot, and I’m sure it’s stressful for the new person. They are just getting acquainted and up to speed when they suddenly are gone for two weeks. It’s not terrible, but it’s defintely not ideal. The difference at my company is–we knew this was the deal from Day 1. Having it come up post-hire is definitely pushing it more into bad territory.

  12. Anonymooose*

    @#2: The boss’s failure here isn’t in taking a vacation or posting on Facebook, it’s being connected to employees on Facebook and then not putting his privacy settings on ultra high.

    @#3: How did you manage to hire someone and not talk through their first 90 days/orientation process? It’s pretty shoddy recruiting to not talk about it, truly. When a company has an HR department who helps hiring managers with recruiting, this is a common lapse. You spend all this time talking about, “where do ya wanna be in 5 years” but neither the hiring manager and recruiting manage bothers to talk about the next 30 days. The recruiter figures it’s the hiring manager’s responsibility, “I’m just here to source good candidates” and the hiring manage assumes the recruiter isn’t going to send someone who wants to vacay as soon as they start! Improve your recruiting process and talk about the next 30 days as much as you talk about “the next 5 years”.

    1. Anonymooose*

      Also….for #2, who sent the initial friend invite on Facebook? If it was the boss, that’s an almighty WFT were you thinking move and if it was the employee, well…there you go.

    2. SheLooksFamiliar*

      ‘How did you manage to hire someone and not talk through their first 90 days/orientation process? It’s pretty shoddy recruiting to not talk about it, truly. ‘

      Eh, that’s not always the fault of the process or the people working it – although I think the sourcer and/or recruiter should ask and confirm with the candidate, not the hiring manager.

      Regardless, in over 30 years of corporate recruiting, I’ve lost count how many times my hiring partners, recruiters, and I have asked candidates if they had upcoming vacations or needed time off that we would need to accommodate in the first 60-90 days, got a ‘Nope!’, extended the offer, began onboarding, and suddenly a family trip to Disney World ‘just came up’.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      I have a pretty spectacular HR recruiter who works with candidates through scheduling onboarding and orientation, and you can ask all you want but some candidates simply do not share that they need time off until their first week in the office. The good ones will talk about it upon accepting the offer while figuring out the start date, but some literally will not tell you until they feel firmly in the door and like you have no choice but to say yes.

      But, hey, I also don’t spend any time talking about five year plans or what kind of tree people most identify with or what their greatest weakness is either.

    4. Kevin Sours*

      “hiring manage assumes the recruiter isn’t going to send someone who wants to vacay as soon as they start”
      Why would you assume that? Vacations happen and usually don’t occur at a perfect time. Are you really going to turn down a good candidate because they happen to have something planned around the time you want them to start?

  13. CastIrony*

    I would be just like OP #4 if the interview ended in laughter. Rejection sensitivity dysphoria is *real*! I would take it as a red flag and see how they act in the future (Are they professional otherwise?) because this is something that would color my impression of the company, unfortunately, even though this is wrong and unfair. I can’t help it.

    1. Paperwhite*

      I was trying to think of a classy way to bring up RSD, so I will just totally agree with you. It’s like being inside a bubble covered with gray paint — it takes a lot of effort to really see beyond the pall, to actually convince oneself “it wasn’t about me” I really hope everything worked out for OP#4 in the end.

  14. kaleidoscope*

    Op #1: Does anyone else think they may be in danger of seeming like it’s ageism if they don’t document wrongdoing? If this person has been with you for 20 years it’s very possible they are of an older demographic. If that’s true, I’d worry that if you simply fire them without documenting your valid reasons and then hire someone for less money (probably someone younger) you are setting yourself up for a fight. I’d make sure to document the attitude issues and at least some attempts to correct to cover your bases. Of course it’s possible this person isn’t older at all, in which case it’s not a concern!

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      No. It’s not wise to constantly be fearful that everything will look like discrimination because someone may be a protected class. You can fire someone who is over 40 easily, only if you’ve made disparaging remarks about their age.

      Also age discrimination starts at 40. It’s pretty easy to fire this person and hire someone who is over 40 for less money than you’re paying that person you’re removing.

      It’s always good to have formal documentation of the reason for terminating someone to avoid issues but you don’t need to have a long going document trail unless you’re dealing with a CBA that requires it. And that you don’t let others with the same issues who are younger/other demographics get away with the same “poor behavior”.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        Agreed, though having managed/worked with problem employees, often the very characteristic that makes them a problem employee, also leads to them embellishing and creating drama when they are fired, and in some cases it will go like this:

        Boss: Unfortunately, we are unable to pay you a freelance rate on top of your salary. Since you are so unhappy here and are not finishing your assignments on time, we are going to let you go.
        Employee: I CARRY THIS COMPANY! You are just not giving me a raise because you don’t want an older woman in this role! I’m suing you.

        It has nothing to do with the protected class the person belongs to, and everything to do with the fact the person has a tenuous grasp on reality, is manipulative, and is prone to lying.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I’ve seen it myself but seen no actual lawsuits filed from these individuals, since nobody will take their case.

          Go look through our books, prove to them that you aren’t the highest paid person here already, no you can’t have MORE money. Here’s our pay scale, this is how it’s calculated. Make sure it’s fairly applied, oh it is isn’t it…fancy that…again, bye.

          But if it’s a concern, that’s why you put severance on it and those tend to have clauses that you agree to the separation terms. It’s cheaper to pay someone 3 months salary to go the hell away than to let them continue to rot your entire staff’s morale out!

  15. Secret Identity*

    So, is it rude to tell someone what they’re doing is rude? Because it seems like someone should tell the fact-checker she’s being rude and to cut it out. Even if it’s not her manager.
    But, ya know, maybe that would be rude? Do two rudes make a …right??

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s not rude but it is against standard etiquette rules to point someone’s rudeness out, you’re supposed to steer them away from being rude instead.

  16. Sleepy*

    #4, I’ve interviewed some VERY bad candidates, and never burst out laughing at the end of an interview. The reality is, a bad candidate is not hilarious! Maybe someone farted right after you left the room and was relieved it didn’t happen while you where there. I mean, really, who knows.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      I agree with this. Very bad candidates are rarely, if ever, funny. The ridiculous parade of emails my co-interviewer and I got while we were in the interview (and did not see until it was over) accusing us of being unresponsive and incompetent is hilarious.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Also true. The few stick out ‘omg were they bad’ people I ever interviewed were followed by a long drawn out silence, then shaking of heads in the room after they left. The one who showed up drunk got a phone call to reception to make sure they hadn’t driven there. The one who argued her experience playing farmcandyville made her an expert SQL coder (Her CV turned out fake) got an epic silence and agreement for us to go refuel on tea before continuing with the next one.

  17. Katie from Scotland*

    #4, maybe the laugh was about farts or memes, as others have said, but it could also be about you but in a good way. Like one person said at the start of the interviews that morning “If we find the right candidate today I’ll eat my hat.” and then you came in first and blew them away so as soon as you left they said “Well I guess I’m eating my hat!” and everyone laughed.
    The point being, there are SO MANY possibilities, that you can’t really take this any particular way on its own.

  18. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    #1 – firing a long time employee should be no different than any employee. If their behavior has become unacceptable, you tell them, set expectations and enforce consequences (up to and including firing). With an employee that’s been there for a while, you may give them some leeway when you have that first conversation in case there’s something bigger happening that may be causing the behavior change and they’ve been a great employee in the past, but they shouldn’t be treated any differently if they start behaving poorly without a reasonable explanation.

  19. Khatul Madame*

    The fact-checker is certainly overdoing it, but what if the team is in the habit of sharing non-work-related articles and is fairly gullible to all the information floating around the internet? We’ve seen them – the “cough CPR” one, the “enter incorrect PIN in a suspect card reader to avoid your data being stolen” one. They range from dumb but inconsequential to potentially lethal. Is the fact-checking co-worker still being rude and wrong?

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I’ve been that fact checker, but it sounds like this person isn’t only correcting misinformation. She’s also confirming correct information, as well as “correcting” things that aren’t actually statements of fact, like what time it’s expected to start raining. She’s gone way, way beyond a casual “guess what, Snopes says that isn’t true!”

    2. EnfysNest*

      Yeah, I think there’s definitely a balance there. This example definitely sounds like she’s going too far and using it more as a “gotcha” type thing, but I also don’t think it’s okay to just let false information go if you’re part of the conversation. I’ve had several times, especially lately, where I had to say, “Uh, no, I saw that one on yesterday and it’s definitely false and intentionally inflamatory.”

      As much as I want to, I do try to avoid pulling up IMDB anymore to get the answer when my coworkers are trying to remember a specific actor from a specific movie. Why they consistently spend 5 minutes rattling off random names trying to remember the right one when they could find the answer in <20 seconds on their phones, I have no idea, but it happens often enough that it's just a THING and I've chosen to let that one go. Maybe they see that as one of those "the journey is more important than the destination" type things? It doesn't make sense to me, because I'd rather get the answer as quickly as possible and get back to the main point of the conversation, but I seem to be the odd one out since no one else ever seems to remember the supercomputer we all carry around in our pockets for that sort of fact-finding.

  20. WorkingGirl*

    OMG I was going to say something about “uhhhh why are people traveling to Hawaii an Europe now” til I realized these are past questions

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Lots of people are still traveling within the US *grumbles and fusses and looks at Florida*. They’re starting to sell the middle seat again on airplanes, I’ve recently heard.

  21. LogicalOne*

    For the staff member that has someone on their team that constantly fact checks, we have someone like that where I work. At first it seemed fine but over time, it came to the point to where it was predictable. Others who sit near this individual also took notice. In order to have them cut it out, we half-jokingly half-seriously asked them one day after making a statement, “So John are you looking it up? Is what x person said true?” and then we laughed. We did this one other time and that enough was enough for “John” to get the hint that we know they always look up information. “John” wants to have the right information. We get that. Maybe John wants to make sure we have the right information? We get that. But there are more subtle ways of telling someone they’re wrong. Plus if they have time to fact-check, are they really working all that hard?

  22. EvilQueenRegina*

    #2 brings back a few memories of the time my old boss wanted our team to organise a big Mardi Gras party for her 60th birthday right in the middle of a round of layoffs. Some of us had found new jobs at this point, others knew their jobs were safe, but there were some who knew they were definitely getting laid off and some who were still waiting to find out. It had been going on for months (I’m in the UK, so there was consultation and notice period, rather than being asked to leave straight away).

    A lot had happened, including her having told someone she wasn’t that worried about the rest of the team once she knew her job was safe, having stopped HR from providing support to us because “we hadn’t had our letters yet” and then not restarting it, trying to delay people’s start dates once we started getting new jobs that wanted us to start before 31st March 2011 when our funding was due to run out and she wanted us to stay right to the end. Someone got threatened with no paternity leave, someone else with rescinding a day off previously booked to take her three year old son to a specialist medical appointment (there was no business reason to rescind this). Feelings were running very high.

    The suggestion of the party went down like a lead balloon. Comments ranged from “Why should we be arranging this rather than her family?” to “Can we really afford not to go?” People felt it was insensitive to try and arrange a big blowout at this time. Some people said they were willing to go, but genuinely couldn’t make the suggested dates. The eventual outcome was Mardi Gras died a death due to lack of interest.

    But honestly I don’t think she meant to be insensitive. I think she just wanted the party and hadn’t thought it through about how it might come across.

    1. allathian*

      Quite honestly, she sounds totally out of touch and egotistical. Not insensitive? Given what you describe, she’s the very definition of insensitive. She literally didn’t care about anyone else, at all. All she cared about was that she got to keep her own job and celebrating her milestone birthday. I’m glad the party died a death. I hope the mother got the day off to take her son to the specialist medical appointment, at least…

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        Another manager intervened, the mother asked HR about it, and the eventual outcome was that she got to keep the day. The paternity leave person also still took his days. Those of us who got new jobs did get to start before 31st March, but she did drag the notice period out (new manager suggested a start date of 21st March, but she’d given us the date 27 days beforehand. Notice period was 4 weeks, 28 days, and she enforced the one day. Technically she could do this, and while that one day was quiet enough that we weren’t needed after all, that was unusual and not something anyone could have known a month in advance.)

        Yeah, maybe not insensitive was badly worded. I meant it more in the sense of she wasn’t “planning the party AT people” in the way that this boss wasn’t posting his photos AT people. She just wanted the party and hadn’t taken into consideration the way it might come across.

  23. Elm*

    I’m not bothered by the boss going to Hawaii. Heck, we had a major round of layoffs while one of our owners was actively ON a vacation like that. The thing is the trips are already paid for, and you’re pretty much stuck. It’s bad timing, but unless they suddenly decided to take the trip after the layoffs, it’s not personal. (If they did do that, then they suck.)

    However. The one who is going on vacation immediately after hiring? HECK no. I’m assuming this was asked pre-COVID (a whole other can of worms), but even that aside, this is a major red flag about her attitude toward others. She’s lucky she got hired by someone who seems kind. She easily could have been hired by someone who would immediately let her go and then called their buddies in the industry to warn them. Like the boss, the trip was already paid for and set in stone. Unlike the boss, this was done with full understanding it could hurt people ahead of time.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’ve hired plently of folks with pre-planned trips that were within weeks of hiring! It was all fine and dandy, they were generally great employees who had live events coming up. I’m not even concerned it was brought up immediately after accepting the offer, I just want to know before your first week is up.

      My only problem with that letter is that they assumed they’d work remotely *head tilt*, that’s pretty out of touch with a lot of norms unless you’re taking a job that’s by nature often remote or remote working was in the package. I’d never assume I could just work from home from a new job!

      1. Kevin Sours*

        Not negotiating the time off as part of the setting the start date is a problem and walking into a new gig and assuming you can just take whatever off isn’t a good look. That said, I’ve taken the second week off a job before (which got a little awkward because the HR rep failed to pass that little tidbit on to the hiring manager when I negotiated it). I’d be cheesed off if I got major pushback on a planned vacation when starting a job (to the extent of reconsidering if it was a good fit) but you’ve got to nail that stuff down ahead of time.

  24. SR*

    OMG, this fact-checking co-worker sounds kind of like my dad. Except he does it after casual conversations with me, his *daughter.* (Note: He is a scholar. So I guess that explains it somewhat. But still!)

  25. CountryLass*

    Ref #5, If I were her manager I would also be concerned about how long she is spending doing this fact-checking on company time.

  26. Delta Delta*

    I worked with someone like the fact checker. It’s exhausting. I got to the point where I stopped sharing any information, including helpful information, because it wasn’t worth dealing with the unnecessary scrutinizing.

Comments are closed.