my replacement doesn’t want me to stop helping him, candidates who don’t send thank-you’s, and more

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

1. My replacement doesn’t want me to stop helping him

I had a job for 10 years that was heavy with responsibility, 24/7 weekends and evenings. I kept to my responsibilities when I was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. Now that I am cancer-free, I moved to another state to be closer to family. I accepted a job with less authority and less responsibility so that my energy could be placed on my personal life.

The problem: Five months have passed and I am still training my replacement, “Dan,” and I don’t see an end in sight. In addition to training, Dan asked me to perform some of my former duties for a while because he was overwhelmed. I did this (paid by the hour) and now that those duties are coming to an end, Dan asked me about scheduling training for items that I have already trained him on. He is also asking for training on items we have not gone over but I feel he should be able to figure out. To try and put a stop to this and establish a boundary, I emailed Dan and our mutual supervisor from my former job and let them both know that I will not be available for training after October 31 and that I would only be available week nights after 3:00 pm. Dan responded and said there is no way we can do any effective training with such short notice and he can only do Saturdays. I know that Covid has thrown a wrench in things and I want to help, but this doesn’t feel right and I can’t meet the expectation that Dan has for training. What should I do?

Dan doesn’t get to dictate any of this! You were doing your former organization a favor by agreeing to help out after you left, and you get to put any limitations on that that you want. Keep in mind that it would have been entirely reasonable if you’d said no initially; they should appreciate anything you were willing to give. And to say this is short notice after you’ve been helping for five months?! And to demand that you give up your Saturdays to do it? No. No, no, no. You’ve already gone above and beyond, when you haven’t needed to do any of this.

People leave jobs, and the organizations they leave make do. You are not tethered to them until they decide they’re willing to do without you. You’ve already left! Stick to that.

At this point, I wouldn’t engage with Dan at all about this and instead would just email your former manager and say, “I’ve been willing to help while Dan was getting acclimated, but I never intended it to go on this long. It’s been five months and I’m not able to continue after the 31st or on the schedule he’s requesting. If he’d like my assistance on weekdays after 3 pm between now and then, I’m happy to help, but I’m not available beyond that. Could you talk with him and then let me know what you’ll need from me, within the confines of my availability?”

Read an update to this letter here.

2. Candidates not sending thank-you notes

I am interviewing people for two positions currently, not as the hiring manager but as an “outside the department” perspective.So far I’ve interviewed six people and not one has sent any kind of follow-up or thank-you note. I can tell from the virtual meeting invite that they all have my email address, so that’s not the reason. I polled some friends and got a split on if these notes are even required nowadays. I know you always suggest writing a strong thank-you note to improve your candidacy, but honestly I’d be thrilled with even a one-line acknowledgement. With the candidates all being comparable, any candidate sending me a note is certainly going to rank higher for me. Am I being old-fashioned with this?

Not old-fashioned, but too rigid. It’s true I encourage candidates to send thank-you notes … but it’s not a requirement, just a suggestion, and you shouldn’t hold it against candidates who don’t. A thoughtful follow-up can indeed strengthen someone’s candidacy, but the presence or absence of a note itself (especially a perfunctory one) is not a make-or-break thing. You want to focus your evaluation of candidates primarily on the must-have qualities and skills for the role. (There are some jobs where thank-you’s might correlate to those, like for fundraising roles — but not for most.) Plus, lots of candidates come from backgrounds where they didn’t learn this particular job search convention.

By all means, appreciate a thoughtful follow-up (although less so the generic one-line acknowledgements, which are so perfunctory that I don’t really give them weight at all). But don’t expect or require them or be thrown off when you don’t get them. More here!

3. My coworker is obsessed with the other candidates who didn’t get her job

I have a coworker who is also a good friend who recently took a promotion in another department. Since the day she was selected for an interview in this new department, she’s been obsessed with the other candidates applying, her “competition.” I might understand the curiosity while you’re still in the hiring process and you want to stand out as much as possible, but she got the job. She’s been in the position for several weeks and she is still hung up on the other candidates — asking her new colleagues about them, looking them up, asking for specific details as to why they went with her over them. I’m not sure if it’s imposter syndrome or extreme insecurity but it’s becoming a bit much. She’s my friend. Should I just come out and tell her that she needs to let it go and be happy?

Yes! She’s your friend, so it would be a kindness to tell her that this is coming across strangely — not the curiosity itself (it’s natural to be a little curious about your competition) but talking about it so often — and that it risks making her seem like she doesn’t think she’s qualified for the job.

4. Should I follow up on a gift I was supposed to receive?

After continuous work and casual job hunting for several years, I used all of your advice on resumes, cover letters, interviews, and negotiations to land a truly fantastic job. I am doing the exact work that I love and am good at, I love the people, it’s truly a great fit. Because of this, I won a department-wide award (MVP of the Quarter)! I got the recognition that I feel I deserve for the first time in my career! Very exciting.

One of the perks of this award was that the department lead said she would be sending something in the mail. I know she is extremely busy. It’s been over a month and nothing has arrived. Should I follow up on this, and if so, how could I go about doing this? I don’t want to be rude, but I also would wonder if something got lost in the mail. With everything going on, this award feels so significant, and I was really looking forward to a little token of appreciation.

Frame it as wanting to make sure you didn’t miss something from her: “You’d mentioned you were mailing me something, but I haven’t received it. I wanted to check back with you since if it got lost somewhere I didn’t want you to think I wasn’t acknowledging it!” (If you want, you could add, “But I also know you’re swamped so if you just haven’t had a chance to send it, I understand!” But that’s not necessary.)

5. Including a podcast appearance on your resume

I’m an experienced professional looking for a higher level position. My office has started a podcast and recently released an episode where the host interviewed me on many aspects of my field. Is this podcast something I could/should include on a resume?

In my previous career, it was expected for people to include publications or professional speaking engagements on resumes and this seems in the same vein, but I’m unsure about it. I’m thinking that being on the podcast might show potential interviewers that I am considered something of an expert in my field and allow them to hear my speaking abilities if they are interested. What do you think?

Sure, it’s fine to give it one line in the same way you might include publications or speaking engagements. Some hiring managers might listen to it, some won’t, but it’s not weird to include it. (This is especially true because you were being interviewed specifically about your work. If the episode were about something further afield from your candidacy, I’d be less inclined to include it.)

{ 443 comments… read them below }

      1. Ann Onny Mous*

        Ha! I’m in a similar situation as LW1. My replacement was untrainable. Refused to see the big picture and would get down in the weeds on stupid things (like arguing over the specific shade of color of Excel cells or the best way to copy/paste something). I became too busy on my new program (but same company) to help. Hasn’t stopped him from still demanding my time. I either ignore the demands or just tell him to work with my other former coworkers (whom I owe many bottles of wine) and repeat the circus/monkeys mantra…over and over and over again.

        1. Trying to Let Go*

          Thank you. I like the Circus mantra, we could also add, “This is not my Circus and I am not one of your clowns.” :)

          1. HairApparent*

            I’ve read your replies, and I just wanted to say that your strike me as a truly wonderful person. You’ve gone WAY above and beyond for Dan and your previous employer, and if anyone accepts the ridiculous excuse of “Daneroo didn’t finish XYZ because the former employee who has been training him for free for over FIVE months didn’t get back to him yet” doesn’t deserve another moment of your thoughts or time either. You are fantastic, and I wish you only the best in life! You’ve MORE than earned it! :)

            1. Zombeyonce*

              I’ll note here that they said they have been getting paid by the hour, so not working for free; however, I’m sure there’s no amount of money large enough to make it worth it to continue dealing with Dan.

        2. Yvette*

          “Refused to see the big picture and would get down in the weeds on stupid things…” My son calls stuff like that “Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic”. (I know he didn’t invent the phrase but he was the first person I heard use it in a while and it reminded me how apt it was and now I associate the phrase with him)

          1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

            Aside: there’s a fun article on McSweeney’s about this. He might get a kick out of it.

        3. Marie*

          “Refused to see the big picture and would get down in the weeds on stupid things (like arguing over the specific shade of color of Excel cells or the best way to copy/paste something).”

          This…is my boss. We have had these petty arguments for over a year now and he has used it against me in performance reviews. Sometimes I need to hear stuff like this from other people or I start thinking it’s normal.

          1. Autistic AF*

            I had a supervisor with serious control issues… There were so many extra checks built into our process I’m surprised she got anything done. In January (pre-2020) she insisted on sending a paper calendar around for the team to request vacation time for the year, one at a time, three rounds of passing that sheet like a hot potato. I wanted to buy plane tickets for early June and still had to wait for everyone with more seniority to book all of theirs first, despite no one else wanting that time. It cost me about $200 as I missed a seat sale.

            We then had a lengthy argument because I hadn’t marked my flex day on that paper calendar -it has to be coded as such in the HR software, which is fine, but it didn’t matter to her that 1) the paper document was temporary and 2) I’d report it the right way electronically. I found a new job before I took any vacation so none of it mattered in the end!

            1. Cactus*

              Ugh. I had a boss that did that. She decided when she got hired as manager that PTO requests would now go on a giant wall calender in her office. Our previous system of requesting PTO (through our somewhat clunky, but mostly decent online payroll system) worked for everyone, and was also easy and fast and could be done at any of the many computers at work or even from home. But no, she was a control freak, and she needed to see and comment on everyone’s handwritten PTO requests.

          2. (insert a cleaver name)*

            You must have my exboss. Exactly, the boss nit-picking on something like a spreadsheet cell color and then putting it on a performance review.

          3. Nah Nah Anti-MBTI Types*

            I’m sure this comment will get jumped all over, but I’m sharing it for your benefit as it may help with understanding the challenges with your boss. This may be partly due to different preferences which, interestingly, the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory can uncover. People who are extremely detail oriented tend to score highly on “S” (Sensors) whereas those who are more big-picture focused tend to score highly on “N” (Intuitive). (To all the anti-MBTI types, yes, it’s all contextual, people’s responses may vary depending on the situation or day of the week, etc. etc.) As a strong “N” type, I have been exceeding frustrated whenever I’ve tried to work on certain projects with “S” types, and they have likely felt the same way about me. Now, when I’m looking at whether to work with someone (consulting), I absolutely consider if we are compatible this way.

        4. Ew, David*

          Haha yes! LW, you sound so lovely and gracious, and Dan is being rude and unreasonable. His manager should shut this down. You gave your employer ample notice, you’ve been training Dan for months – you don’t owe them anything more. Dan needs to sink or swim on his own, and he’s the company’s responsibility now, not yours. Enjoy your health and your family!

      2. Harvey 6'3.5"*

        Or start charging consultant rates like $100, $200, or $300 an hour for your assistance (I would lean to a higher number here, personally, since you don’t want to participate). Then at least you’ll feel like you are getting something for your effort.

        1. Trying to Let Go*

          That was my husband’s advice! He said, “believe me, you won’t hear from them if you start charging $100 an hour.”

          1. Shenandoah*

            HA! I would be very tempted to just continually raise rates until he stops contacting me, but from reading through your comments, it sounds like you are mentally DONE and that the money would just not be worth the extra stress. I am very excited for you to not have to deal with this crap any more and hope to see an update from you!

        2. Environmental Compliance*

          I did that! And got paid at 3x my normal hourly salary. Definitely helped during COVID/moving/spousal loss of job. Totally expected them to say nah, we’ll figure it out.

        3. pleaset cheap rolls*

          Yeah, I suggest triple normal salary and 4 hour minimums with a week to accomplish. If they need some little thing, that’s 4 hours. If they need 4 hours of work, that’s 4 hours.

        4. Coder von Frankenstein*

          That is a good strategy for a job you quit because of low pay. It is a bad strategy when you quit because of the stress and time commitment.

          If you don’t want to work for them any more, just tell them no. Trying to get cute with excessive consulting fees will, at best, give you the same result as saying no, and might lead to you doing work you don’t want to be doing.

        1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

          Also remember, you can’t care more about his job than he does.
          His solution is not to learn how to do things or to tell his boss he can’t handle the work. His solution is to have you do the work.
          This is not sustainable for anyone.

    1. pleaset cheap rolls*

      “What should I do?”
      Write back saying “As I wrote earlier, I’m not available outside the times I mentioned. Please do not request more of my time again.”

      That’s it. Nothing more.

      And if he does ask for more, stop opening messages from this person.

      You don’t have an obligation to keep responding to people who do not listen to you.

      1. Trying to Let Go*

        Thank you. I have ignored his emails before and then it was reported to my former manager that “I didn’t get back to him” and that he was not able to complete a task because of my lack of response. This is part of what kept sucking me back in.

        1. WantonSeedStitch*

          Your replacement sounds like he’s not up to snuff on this job, and wants to be able to blame you for that fact. Frankly, while you’ve mentioned some availability in the future to help out and answer questions, I almost feel like cutting him off entirely might be better: not only will it keep you from getting sucked back in as easily, it’ll mean that whatever he does, he has to stand on his own two feet and can’t blame you for “not getting back to him” anymore. And since he might try to blame you for “not training him” on something, I would send a final summary to your old manager about what things you’ve trained him on, so it’s clear that you’ve done what you needed to do and any shortcomings your replacement is experiencing are therefore Not Your Problem.

          1. Trying to Let Go*

            Everyone is so helpful here! I do like the idea of summarizing what I have done and I will do that. Also, I found someone within the company who can complete training that I feel is needed and provided them with that lead.

            1. Someone Else*

              Unless I’m missing something here, you don’t owe any of these people anything. Not your time, not your attention, not your summary, not your help, not even reading their emails. I’m so confused why you and they think they are entitled to you.

            2. JC*

              I don’t understand this- have you left the company completely or moved internally to another role in a different state? If you have left the company, you really don’t owe them anything! Just email the old boss and say I have spent hours of time and weekends (!) above and beyond on this training and I am now done. They are really taking advantage of you!

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                I’m wondering if Dan isn’t the boss’s nephew or something because who would accept a former employee billing for work that she used to get done without a problem, just because NewBoy can’t handle the workload? I mean, why didn’t the boss say, “OK we can outsource this to OP but how come you don’t have time? She always managed to get it all done by the end of the month. “

            3. Annony*

              I definitely think it is a good idea to inform your former manager that some of the things he is asking for you already trained him on. You did your part and he is being unreasonable in his expectations.

            4. Some Cajun Queen*

              Are you worried about a reference perhaps? It’s really not your responsibility to source other people in the company to train Dan, it’s his manager’s. You sound like a kind and empathetic person, but you’re stressing yourself out over something that is not at all your problem. I agree with others that a summary of what Dan has been trained on, along with a firm “I will no longer be doing this” is enough. They made the choice to hire him; he’s their responsibility.

          2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

            This. Just this. Cutting the cord now would prevent the LW (who sounds very kind and patient!) from getting drawn into doing even more free training of someone who should long since have learned how to do his job. And of course the LW’s company wants them to keep on doing the training; it relieves the company of the responsibility to supervise the replacement AND provides them with training for which they don’t have to pay anymore (remember, the LW no longer works for that company!) No…just no. No more free work for that company after October 31st sounds like an excellent plan.

          3. MCMonkeyBean*

            Agree, Dan seems like a bad hire but alas there’s nothing to do about it now and that is their old company’s problem to fix. I mean it sounds like this was a job with a lot to it and OP was in it for 10 years so I get that there is a lot of knowledge to transfer here, but I cannot imagine the sheer audacity for him to come into this job and then say to the person who *has left the company* “this is overwhelming, you need to keep doing the job that I was hired for.”

            I definitely agree with people suggesting jacking up the rates and see how high they are willing to go, but only if you would actually be willing to keep helping for more money. If you would honestly prefer to just never deal with them again, then cut Dan loose without a second of hesitation. You have done so far beyond what any reasonable person would consider “enough.”

            Congratulations on being cancer free, and I hope you are enjoying your time with your family

        2. Massmatt*

          Dan is a terrible person and your former boss is not much better. If you were so essential that you were irreplaceable then they should still be paying your salary. And done whatever it took to keep you from leaving. They aren’t, and didn’t. Dan can cry all he wants that you are not helping him—you don’t work there anymore.

          It should be very obvious to your old boss/organization that Dan is not capable of doing this job yet they don’t seem to have done anything about it. Cut the cord, let Dan whine all he wants, it’s not your problem and hasn’t been for 5 months.

          1. Trying to Let Go*

            Thank you. Dan is also making more money than I did and was given a better title. The more I read comments and receive support the more confident I am in that I am doing the right thing.

            1. Lily Rowan*

              WHAT! You should definitely cut him off ASAP in that case. (You should do it in any case, but that’s especially egregious.)

            2. Southern Ladybug*

              OH HELL NO! Cut that cord. I do agree with the advice to summarize and detail the extensive support you have provided. And perhaps a list of the (presumably basic expectations) that you recommend Dan continue to receive training in.

              1. Totally Minnie*

                This would be a great way to frame your wrap-up communication with Dan’s manager. “Hi Fergus! Since this will be my last week working with Dan, I wanted to give you the progress report of what we’ve worked on and what I think he may still need going forward.”

              2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                Have to agree with Ladybug here, Trying to Let Go. Summarize what you have gone over and trained him on, and cut the chord after this week.
                Dan sounds like a mooch, but he is not your responsibility. It’s now up to your former boss to manage the person he choose.

            3. somanyquestions*

              It’s very easy to lose perspective when you’re with a group of people who are completely out of whack for a long time. They all act like this ridiculous situation is normal, so you do too.

              This isn’t normal and when you push back, reminding them you quit 5 months ago and can’t keep this up ongoing, the only one who will really fight that is Dan and that’s because he pretty clearly can’t do the job he’s being paid to do.

              I agree with shifting all communication away from him. Establish what will happe these last few days with your former supervisor, and then leave Dan to figure the rest out. Or not, but either way it’s not your problem.

              I hope you really enjoy your lower-stress job and having more free time!

            4. AnonEMoose*

              HE IS MAKING MORE MONEY THAN YOU WERE?!! Flames…flames on the side of my face!!!

              With that information, don’t just cut that cord, OP. Ritually burn the pieces, bury them, and sow the ground above them with salt. These people are not worth your time or concern.

                1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                  I’d say sexism but then again, I’m angry on behalf of OP and women aren’t allowed to be angry.

            5. Mockingjay*

              And THIS, dear OP, is why you left that job.

              “Dear former Boss, as Dan is so clearly a high-level superstar employee, I can’t possibly provide the level of training he needs. Best of luck [with him]!” *snickers

              1. Hummer on the Hill*

                OMG, this made my day!!! After I read Alison’s advice, I thought the LW should add “and I won’t be able to consult anymore after [date].”

            6. Sylvan*

              What? He’s making more money and doing less work? Yeah, you’re doing the right thing. If you want to stick to your word, help through October 31, then block his number and email address. If you don’t want to stick to it (I wouldn’t want to), send a short message to him and his boss to say that you can’t do this anymore. Then block. This is an enormous PITA for you and it’s not good for your former company, either.

              You seem pretty kind and sympathetic to your former company, so if it helps you motivate yourself to stop helping this guy, think of it this way: Helping him enables a dysfunctional, weird situation to continue. It’s not good for the company to have this entanglement with a former employee, or to have a current employee and manager who can’t work things out on their own. It’s better for this situation to end so the company can sort their issues out.

              1. Alexander Graham Yell*

                Yeah, I’d be very tempted to say “I gave Dan my availability, but he made it clear that it was not going to work. On review, I agree. Going forward I will no longer be able to assist. I have trained him on X, Y, and Z as agreed and trust that he has sufficiently documented that training.”

            7. Empress Matilda*

              Okay, I was annoyed before – but now I’m outright angry. He’s making more money than you, and he has a better title, despite the fact that he’s absolute crap at the job? AND he’s blaming you when he doesn’t get his work done? And his supervisor is letting him get away with that? Unreal.

              I would send one last email. Tell them you’ve provided as much help as you’re able, and now you need to stop engaging so you can focus on your new job. Hit Send, then block. Block Dan, block your former supervisor, block the entire domain. Block their emails, block their phone calls, block them in every way possible so you never have to hear from them again.

              These people are awful, and they should all be fired into the centre of the sun. It’s great that you’re almost out of there – now take those last few steps and get out the rest of the way. Good luck!

            8. Momma Bear*

              If they inflated his role and he’s still not able to do what you did without extra help, then that’s on them/Dan, not you.

            9. soon to be former fed really*

              AARGH! In 40 years, I’ve never been asked to work after I have resigned from anywhere, and would not have done so if I had been. The absolute nerve. More money, better title, less competence? Really? Why would he expect any support from you? Leave this train wreck in your rear view mirror, you have done more than enough already, even though you got paid for some of it.

            10. Margaret Liepmann*

              Aaand that’s when you go “Screw it, deal with it yourself”, and block his email/phone/whatever ways he can contact you. He’s getting paid enough to figure his own job out, not your problem anymore.

            11. Coder von Frankenstein*

              He’s being paid more than you were and has a higher title and he still comes running to you for help five months later?!? And his boss knows about it and hasn’t put a stop to it!

              Cut these folks loose. You owe them nothing–quite the reverse.

        3. Myrin*

          What! You don’t mention how far into the training period that happened but I have to say, if I as a manager found out that he, months after you left, wasn’t able to figure out a task because you didn’t answer an email, I’d be seriously side-eyeing him.

        4. Lena Clare*

          Ugh, he complained??? Cut him off for good.
          “I anticipated that I would be available to help for 1-3 hours per week after the end of October. After reconsideration of my circumstances I realise I am no longer able to commit to any hours at all after 31st October. Please redirect any queries or unfinished work after that date to (line manager). Best wishes (name)” copy his line manager in. Done :)
          Good luck!

              1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                So much this. Sounds like they messed up a bit (or Dan misjudged the job when interviewing), but you moved on 5 months ago. It is now time for him to sink or swim on his own merits, and for the manager to actually manage.

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              Oh and update us please! i’m really curious to see if this all ends normal or Dan does something weird.

            2. Ellie*

              I prefer Alexander Graham Yell’s suggested wording, “I gave Dan my availability, but he made it clear that it was not going to work. On review, I agree. Going forward I will no longer be able to assist…” Seriously, you need to be hard with these people, they are taking advantage of you. I’d do one more email, to the manager, with the above wording, and adding that after 5 months of training you need to focus on your new position, and redirect to that internal person. Then block them. Its not your problem, and you’ve already been extremely generous with your time. Time for Dan to stand on his own.

        5. Coder von Frankenstein*

          The same principles apply to your former manager. Emphasis on “former.”

          You left that job. You get to be done with it. If the CEO personally flies to your house to demand that you do something, the appropriate response is, “No, I don’t work for you any more.” (Also possibly, “Why are you at my house? I’m calling the cops.”)

          1. EPLawyer*

            THIS. OH MY THIS. Repeat to yourself: I do not work there anymore.

            It is not your responsibility to make sure Dan is capable of doing your FORMER job. It is the company’s responsibility. For whom you no longer work. Your loyalty to the company ended with the receipt of your last paycheck.

          2. Quickbeam*

            Laughing… old boss of mine from 25 years prior showed up at a yoga class of mine. He immediately started berating me for taking a day class (it was a PTO day for me). I looked him right in the eye and said “ I haven’t worked for you in 25 years. I’m not accountable to you”. He turned purple. It was delightful.

          3. soon to be former fed really*

            THIS. You are entitled to release a job from your mind after you have moved on. You don’t work for them anymore, they are due none of your psychic energy.

        6. Observer*

          Then it was reported to my former manager that “I didn’t get back to him” and that he was not able to complete a task because of my lack of response. This is part of what kept sucking me back in.

          Well, it would be courteous of you to loop the manager and let them know that your schedule is not up for negotiation. Do that today.

          More importantly, what difference does it make what he reports to his manager? You don’t work there any more. No one there has any authority or any standing to make demands of your time or resources.

          1. LifeBeforeCorona*

            What is your old manager going to do? Write you up for not being a team player? For a job you haven’t worked at for 5 months? Go full Gandalf on them: You have no power here!

            1. Coder von Frankenstein*

              I am a servant of work-life balance, a wielder of not working for you any more. The guilt trip will not avail you, flame of burnout! Go back to your 80-hour weeks! YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

          2. SheLooksFamiliar*

            Also, if your replacement is (supposed to be) a top performer, why hasn’t he figured all this out in 5 months?

            You owe this company nothing, OP. Let them live with their decision to undervalue you, and the fallout to underestimating how difficult your roles truly was. And let them live with their choice of replacement. He’s paid more and given a better title? Then let him prove he warrants both.

            Good luck to you, and take good care of yourself, OP.

            1. Ginger*

              This is what I keep thinking… 5 months…. FIVE MONTHS!!!

              Blaming the person who left how keeps generously giving him time? What the what?!

              OP – this person will never stop until you cut them off for good. You can do it, stay strong!

        7. Yvette*

          But you are under no obligation to respond. Unless are you actually getting paid now? And if you are, make them go through the whole W2 process.

        8. Phoenix Wright*

          Unless your former manager is terrible, the “I couldn’t do my job because former employee didn’t reply to me” excuse will make him look bad and incompetent (which wouldn’t be unwarranted, according to what you said), not you. It’s not your problem anymore, so it should be perfectly fine if you decided to cancel all contact with him overnight. And it sounds like this would do wonders for you.

        9. Disco Janet*

          Um, what. I am so infuriated on your behalf! The cord needs to be permanently severed with both Dan and the manager.

        10. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          What is your FORMER manager going to do, write a performance evaluation for someone who doesn’t work there? If they ever do anything that psychotic, and you get a copy of it, please do share with the rest of us, we could use the entertainment.

        11. Artemesia*

          You don’t work for your former boss. You need to contact the boss as was suggested and say that you no longer have time to hand hold the new hire who should by now be up to speed but continues to rely on you. You don’t work for these people any more. ‘I find my new position is demanding of my time; after 5 months I would think Dan would be up to speed; it is not possible for me to continue to support him and do his work for him. I will be available as I indicated for X hours a day after 3 pm until October 31 and will be unable to consult on this after that. ‘ You have a job — it is not this one — the efforts to discipline and keep you doing the work are classic male dominance moves right down to the ‘getting you in trouble with the boss’ – who is not your boss. Spend some time reflecting on why you have allowed him to bully you for 5 mos so it doesn’t happen again. You have the patience of a saint.

          1. Mr. Shark*

            Normally I’d say take the high road, but in this case, throwing shade at the guy who still can’t do his job after 5 months, and is trying to throw the LW under the bus for, I don’t know what…not doing his job for him, even though she doesn’t work there anymore? I think that’s totally appropriate!

            I agree with everything Artemesia says! You’ve been way too patient and allowing him to make you feel guilty for not supporting a job that you no longer have, and were never paid appropriately for (since he’s being paid more to do less right now), is way beyond what you need to do.

        12. Momma Bear*

          That would make me angry – don’t do your job and then tell me I’m responsible for your failings. I like the AMA response to tell the former manager that after x date you will not be available and cut the cord. They hired HIM to do your job, vs keeping you on as a remote employee. It’s been 5 months. It is time for him to sink or swim and this is no longer your concern. You’ve gone above and beyond, even if you were getting paid for it. If they reach out again, reiterate that you aren’t available anymore.

        13. Hey Karma, Over Here*

          You manager is being an ass.
          Oh wait, he’s not your manager. You don’t work there.
          I’d tell your manager that you were fine doing his job for him and fine with him refusing to learn anything (offer to forward all the emails illustrating this) but now he’s trying to smear you professionally and you need to cut ties.

        14. Run mad; don't faint*

          “it was reported to my former manager that “I didn’t get back to him” and that he was not able to complete a task because of my lack of response. ”

          This is not your problem. He’s had plenty of time to be trained and acclimatized to the job. If he is blaming you, the long-gone-predecessor, for his failures, that’s a reflection on him and not on you. Send a summary to his manager if you like, but disengage from Dan and any other work-related requests that might crop up from Old Company with a clear conscience.

        15. AKchic*

          It may be helpful to add up all of the additional hours you have given him since you’ve left. Let’s say you wrote in at the beginning of October, and we only count May-September as the five months of ADDITIONAL help you’ve been giving him, and count only 10 hours a week of “additional” help. Let’s estimate low and say you only get paid $20/hr for your very technical expertise.
          That is 22 weeks of work, at 10 hours per week, at $20/hr. Pre-tax, that is $4400 they have spent in additional training, not including the full-time, in-person training you gave him before you left the company. Or *tried* to leave the company.
          I am also going to assume that he has access to training manuals and all of your old files to “refresh” his memory of everything you have previously explained to him, plus emails and any of his handwritten notes that he should have been taking.

          He is not your supervisor. This company is no longer your employer. You are not beholden to them and it is their job to manage him. You have gone above and beyond in attempting to train him up. If they have hired poorly, that is on them. Them, not you. He needs to sink or swim on his own merits. He has had 5+ months with you as a safety net, and doing some of his work.

          I know it’s going to feel strange at first, but hold firm. You set a date, stick to it. You gave them a timeframe that you are available. Stick to it. If he pushes back again, hit them with the data; you have worked X weeks/days since your *final day*, after giving him ample training, at $YY/hr., for a total of $YYYY since you supposedly left the company for your HEALTH and you are still doing a good portion of his work. He has all of the information if he’d deign to look at it. He is choosing to waste company money by bothering you first. Tell them that after the 31st, any contact will be met with your freelance rates, which are $500/hr, minimum 2 hour charge. And you do not work weekends, ever.

        16. Sinister Serina*

          Blaming you for him not finishing the job is not sustainable, especially five months after you left. I agree with the others-help him but also send an invoice for your time at 3-4 times your hourly wage and see if they’re willing to pay it. And help him on your terms, not his-only on a Saturday? Hahahahahahahaha, no way.

        17. Amaranth*

          The other problem here is that he is asking for training on things you’ve already covered and sounds like he’s throwing you under the bus. I wonder if its worth sending the manager a list of what you’ve covered, if its not in your invoices, plus a list of the new requests and ask what focus the manager wants in the time remaining.

      2. irene adler*

        Oh hard agree!

        I’d be tempted to start billing Dan directly for my time. And not in small amounts either.
        My time is worth something too, Dan. Respect it. Learn to do your job.

    2. WellRed*

      Yes. I’m confused as to whether you plan to stop altogether after the 31st or still available on weekdays. If it’s not the former, make it so.

      1. Trying to Let Go*

        I had planned on being available 1-2 hours a week to answer emails. I agree with you though. I think it is going to be hard to not get bogged down if I don’t make a clean break.

        1. Mockingjay*

          It’s time. Sings: “Let him gooooo…”

          He is your previous manager’s problem to solve, not yours.

          1. Trying to Let Go*

            Thank you. I do think that my former manager will report to his team that I am responsible for part of my replacements struggle because I was unable to continue training. I am just going to have to live with that. The price I am paying for trying to avoid being perceived like that by my former peers is not worth paying.

              1. Myrin*

                I agree. OP, you’ve worked alongside these people for ten years – surely they’ve made up their mind about you long before you started training Dan! And if they think that you are responsible for Dan’s struggles because you stopped continuing his training after almost half a year after you left their company, then that’s squarely on them – people who think that way aren’t people whose opinion of you needs to matter!

                1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

                  Seriously, just repeat to yourself, “I can’t make Dan smarter. I can’t make Dan smarter.”

                  This guy seems like an utter jackass, and no power short of divine intervention is going to make him anything else. The OP is trying to fix a thing that can’t be fixed. The guy can’t do the job well. End of story. Nothing to be done.

              2. Sinister Serina*

                Exactly. Five months and he still needs help? Really? I could maybe understand if you couldn’t find something or something like that, but blaming you because he couldn’t finish a project is bull.

            1. Not Australian*

              “I do think that my former manager will report to his team that I am responsible for part of my replacements struggle because I was unable to continue training.”

              Your former manager has enabled this untenable situation and should know better. This is not actually ‘managing’ anything; in fact, what they’re doing is actively refraining from managing the situation.

              But you’re quite right, they’ll make you ‘the bad guy’ because that’s easier than accepting any of the blame/responsibility themselves. Once you accept that, it’s actually impossible for this situation to become any worse – and therefore the only sane solution is to step out and stay out.

              Good luck!

            2. EPLawyer*

              Your former peers will see that even if you leave, the place STILL blames you for mistakes. They won’t think less of you, they will think less of the company.

              Your place sounds like it was horribly toxic and you have not realized it yet. You need to adjust your thinking as to what is normal.

              Normal: During your notice period, you wrap up projects and leave documentation. Maybe you get a phone call a couple weeks later asking where the Lannister file is. That’s it.
              Not Normal: 5 MONTHS later you are still training your replacement and being blamed for HIS mistakes.

              1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

                You have hit the nail on the head. I just ran back and read all of OP1/Trying to Let Go’s comments. Let’s see:

                -Worked nights, weekends, 24/7 availability for ten years even through cancer.
                -Leaves, and immediately they hire an incompetent guy for a much higher salary and a higher title to do the exact same work.
                -Totally burned out, to the point where they had to move cross country and take a lower level job.
                -Feeling constantly guilty about a job they left half a year ago.
                -Take for granted that they will be blamed for something that is completely outside their control, happening with people they don’t manage, at a company they don’t work for.
                -Culture of blame is confirmed by the fact that their replacement is, out of desperation or malice, trying to blame their performance issues on someone who left half a year ago almost.
                -Old manager expects them to be on call and responsible for their successor’s work product, even when THEY ARE NOT GETTING PAID.
                -They take it as read that the bridge will be burned and their references hurt if they do something as basic and reasonable as stop working for the company they no longer work for.

                OP, you spent a decade in House of Evil Bees. The bees have been living rent-free in your head for five months. You are detoxing now. Things are going to be so much better for you. Think of it like a divorce. It’s going to take a couple of years to get past it. Totally normal after a toxic job. Lots of us wind up in them, and it wasn’t anything about you. Things are going to get a lot better.

                1. Sinister Serina*

                  She should send them an invoice for the time she spent helping-not at her usual wage, at a high-priced consultant’s wage.

              2. pleaset cheap rolls*


                I hope there is someone on the team who says “Wait, do you mean this holdup relies on someone who doesn’t work for us and apparently does not want to work for us?”

                And/or who leave for a better job if this sort of behavior is common there.

            3. Ew, David!*

              If the former manager is buying into the idea that you’re responsible for this guy’s performance FIVE MONTHS after the fact, that sounds like a dysfunctional workplace and terrible manager. This is not at all on you! You’ve been more than generous! I would tell the manager you’re done and then block both of their email addresses and never think of it again. They don’t get to demand your time and they don’t deserve it, either!

            4. Malarkey01*

              From your letter and your comments I think you have left a toxic job environment and are still having trouble recognizing norms and appropriate boundaries (said very kindly because this isn’t your fault at all!). It is not normal to rely on people 5 months after they’ve left, it is not normal to report to your supervisor and peers that you aren’t completing work because of someone who left 5 months ago, it is not normal to think someone should provide more support after they’ve left a job and moved. You are still behaving as if this abnormal behavior needs to be accommodated and reflects on you. It absolutely does not, and this is not yours to fix.

              I’d recommend a full break now, and blocking all emails from this company after 10/31. They will have the same impression of you if you cut the cord today that they would have if this went on for another year. You cannot mitigate this or solve this. Free yourself from this incredibly toxic situation and don’t worry what they think.
              Best of luck!!

              1. Birdie*

                I think you make an important point. It’s clear that Dan and the boss have NO plan to change things. This is working for them, and they are in no hurry to transition OP out. I think it’s safe to assume that no matter when OP cuts them off – whether it be next week or six months from now – they’re going to be huffy and blame her. If there’s no way to avoid that reaction, might as well make a clean break now instead of continuing to drag things out. Enjoy your freedom, OP!

            5. Generic Name*

              You sound like a very conscientious person. I would be shocked if your coworkers thought badly of you for ending the remedial help you’ve been giving Dan many months after you left the company. They work with Dan, and they likely know that he’s incompetent and if he has the gall to blame your for his failure, they’ll think he’s also an asshole.

              What’s the worst that can happen? Dan fails, and blames you. No reasonable person is going to believe Dan. You live in another state and the absolute worst reference anybody could give would be that you helped your successor for FIVE MONTHS after you left, and when you stopped helping, your successor failed. Even if they say “it was her fault” the reference checker would likely think your company is full of incompetent loons and it wouldn’t reflect badly on you. At all.

            6. Qwerty*

              You have spent years dealing with an overwhelming workload and handling it with grace. I’m not surprised that your replacement is struggling to fill your shoes – sounds like they probably should have hired two people! It sounds like they were taking advantage of your competence before and aren’t worth the stress they are causing you.

              Try thinking of it this way: All a job can expect is 2weeks notice. You have given them far beyond that to try and help ease the transition. If you have to, lean in on the fact that you left in order to focus on your health to help highlight how ridiculous they are. You owe them nothing and deserve your free time back.

            7. hbc*

              So, I work at a place where there was a lot of tendency to hoard information, rely on institutional knowledge rather than documentation, and contact former and retired employees.

              And still, there is no one here who would think that “Oh, Ex-Employee caused us to fail by not training her replacement for five months after leaving us.” That’s just not a thing.

            8. Observer*

              “report to your team”?

              I don’t mean to nitpick language, but that totally jumped out at me. First Dan “reported” you to your EX manager – someone who has ZERO authority over you. But at least, he DOES have authority over Dan. Now you thing that the manager is going to “report you” – to people who have even LESS authority than he does (because they don’t even have authority over DAN, much less you).

              What is this with all of the “reporting” going on here – it makes me think of the place that paraded employees around with a dunce cap (search the site for “dunce cap”) when they messed up, and of the kinds of places that “manage” by turning people into snitches* and pitting people against each other.

              Also, why does it matter? Again, no one there has any authority over you. No one has any standing to make any demands. And you are building a work record outside of this company, so references are less important, as well. Also, any halfway reasonable employer is not going to think “what a terrible employee” when they hear that you stopped supporting their staff after FIVE MONTHS.

              You’ve clearly been in a highly dysfunctional environment that takes beyond all reasonable expectations and it sounds like your norms have been warped. Please re-set your expectations of yourself. You will be a LOT less stressed.

              * For the record – I generally do not believe that “snitching” is a thing in the workplace. But a culture of “reporting” (where we’re not talking about safety or legality), and where said reporting is at least as much about making people look bad or pushing blame on others as anything else? Yeah, that’s probably snitching.

            9. LifeBeforeCorona*

              Your former peers know that you have been gone for 5 months. They must be wondering why your replacement is still leaning so heavily on you. But, it’s not worth your time or energy to engage with them anymore.

            10. 2 Cents*

              No one is going to think this is you. They know it’s this guy who after 5 months hasn’t figured it out. I bet this is just the tip of the iceberg with him.

            11. lightbulb*

              Trying to Let Go, how long were you trained when you started that job? And when you left, did you agree to train Dan for this long or even longer? Have you been paid for training Dan for the past 5 months?

            12. Person from the Resume*

              Any sensible person will understand that people do not continue training their replacement i.e. working after they are no longer employed.

              Dan and Dan’s boss are not sensible people but the sensible people may remain silent because your former employee sounds toxic and crazy, but they’ll know and not blame you.

            13. Phoenix Wright*

              If my manager told me a new coworker is doing badly because a former coworker isn’t training him anymore, I’d be furious for two reasons. First, because they are making my former coworker work for the company for free. Second, because they are keeping an incompetent worker around, in my team, when it’s clear he isn’t up to the task.

              I mean it, none of this reflects badly on you. If anything, anyone who hears this story would feel bad for you, because you’ve been taken advantage of during these last 5 months. Please don’t feel responsible for people or companies you no longer work with/for.

            14. maggiemct*

              “I do think that my former manager will report to his team that I am responsible for part of my replacements struggle because I was unable to continue training.”

              Hmmm. Is there a boss-of-former-boss you can cc on your “I’m done” email? You know, just to do them the courtesy of keeping them in the loop. :-)

            15. Run mad; don't faint*

              Once you’re no longer available, I think a few weeks of Dan asking them for help repeatedly will make it clear to your peers that you were never the problem. If they don’t already know, that is. It’s been five months. Even if your ex-manager accepts Dan’s excuses, your former coworkers have known you and him long enough to have a true picture of what’s going on.

            16. Artemesia*

              No sensible person thinks that someone who left the job 5 mos ago should be responsible for training their replacement. This is seriously messed up and this over conscientiousness is probably what contributed to your burnout and doing 24/7 long hours in the old job. This is not normal. People don’t normally train their replacement after they have left a job. Seriously. Not normal. People don’t think less of someone for not continuing to work for the old company after they have left. You. have allowed yourself some seriously distorted ideas of work commitment and responsibility. If you don’t get this sorted out, you are likely to be abused on the job again. Note that he gets paid more and a better title and still can’t do the job; you were taken advantage of and part of that is always that we let ourself be taken advantage of. I have done that on occasion but finally wised up and realized you are valued as you value yourself. Allowing yourself to be abused does not help your professional reputation. Do you know a single male professional in your field who would feel that had to assist their successor for months after moving to a new job or who would be worried they would suffer a reputational hit for not continuing to ‘train’ them? Seriously. This is NOT normal. They are rolling you.

            17. Academic Librarian too*

              I hear what you are saying but look at this dispassionately. You have a job. You do not wish to consult any longer.
              Write a report to the supervisor. NOT Dan. Dan is failing in his new position.
              Thank you for the opportunity to continue to be engaged in this work.
              These are the hours of training.
              These are the training topics that were taught to Dan.
              I will be unavailable after October 30.
              If you wish to debrief on this training experience or you have follow up questions.
              I am available by phone. (or Zoom) on this date and time for a 1/2 hour.

              If you choose to do the follow up- kill with kindness. You do not critisize Dan. Focus on your own work and the present outcome. (this will give you a good reference in the future.)
              If pressed for more of your time, your present position demands that you release the consulting work at this time.

            18. Ellie*

              No one could possibly believe that. 5 months of training says to me that Dan is untrainable. Would any of these people be prepared to give as much of their time as you have? If you cut him off he’ll either rise to the challenge (and they’ll be nothing to blame you for), or he’ll fall flat on his face, making you look more valuable. He won’t be able to blame you for long, if you go no-contact.

        2. Marzipan Shepherdess*

          You’re absolutely right, TtLG; a clean break is the best way to go. Dan has no workplace boundaries when it comes to expecting you to work for free and will go on shamelessly expecting you to spoon-feed him what he should long since have learned as long as you continue to help him. His company (not YOURS anymore! :) will survive after you stop doing THEIR job (overseeing Dan’s work) for them. Trust me on that one!

        3. Antilles*

          “1-2 hours a week to answer emails”
          No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
          After 5 months, you don’t need to give them 1 to 2 MINUTES per week.

        4. Artemesia*

          One month was more than enough. None would have been acceptable. You are being rolled by these people. Make them stop. And cut if off clean.

        5. Momma Bear*

          I think it’s admirable to be available but Dan’s already abused that. I’d cut them off completely.

        6. Hey Karma, Over Here*

          He’s shown that not only does he not respect boundaries, he does not respect you. He’s using you as an excuse for his failures?
          And your manager didn’t clap back with “it’s your job now, you need to do it and not rely on an ex-employee.”
          This guy is becoming the broken stair.
          Remind yourself, you are in a different stairwell now.

        7. pleaset cheap rolls*

          Consider 2 hours a week at 3X your previous hourly pay. Make it really worth the bucks! if it’s less than 2 hours, you still charge for that.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      Yes! I had assumed that the fact that he “doesn’t want you to stop” and you complied because you still worked at the company. And I am shocked that the wants and desires of someone at your ex-job are driving your decisions. People cannot make you work for them if you don’t want to. You are choosing to speak to people there and to be swayed by his begging.

      Stop! You got away from your old job for your own physical and mental health. Cut the cord. Don’t help him. Don’t check up on him with anyone else. Treat it like a break up where you don’t talk to your ex(-job) for a set number of months. After those months you’ll probably realize you don’t even want to talk to them again.

      1. Trying to Let Go*

        That is a great idea. I have been checking email regularly because I felt bad for him. Your advice is spot and I intend to act on it.

        1. Justme, the OG*

          Filter his email to a special folder and then just stop checking it. I did that with former coworkers who emailed me with questions that were completely within their knowledge base (because they did it in their previous position) and they should have been able to answer.

        2. Archaeopteryx*

          You shouldn’t feel bad about someone who is acting so entitled to your time and headspace. It’s the best thing for your former job as well as for Dan to not have you covering up his problems and always on tap for when he has questions. Even more than a couple weeks was way too much to give them, and they need to find someone currently employed by them who can help him out, or replace him entirely.

          Your old job has no claim on you and it’s really unhealthy to keep even a tiny bit of your time and mental energy devoted to them. You need to be able to move on, and Dan needs to stop using you as a crutch.

          1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

            This. The crutch. Maybe Dan needs one. Maybe his is a manipulative, lazy jerk.
            It doesn’t matter.
            You don’t work there anymore.
            “But, I want to help my manager…”
            You don’t work there anymore.
            “But they are paying me…”
            You don’t work there anymore.
            “But he says that I didn’t get back to him…”
            You don’t work there anymore.
            “But he just won’t”
            You don’t work there anymore.

        3. virago*

          OP, you sound like a kind, conscientious and gifted employee who puts their all into their work, and thankfully, now you have an employer that’s worthy of that level of caring. Please channel your professional energy into the job you have. Cut off Dan and your old manager, or they’ll drain you dry. I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you well.

          1. Artemesia*

            This. Your conscientiousness is what burned you out on this job. Dan doesn’t have that same commitment and has learned he can bully you into doing his job. I would suggest along with your new less demanding job that you might want to do some therapy around why you can be pushed to levels of effort that are so damaging to you. These are great virtues that alas in you have grown to an excess that damages you. I can empathize as I have often found myself going above and beyond when others don’t. Some of this is an asset, but too much of it is an anchor around your neck.

      2. Alanna*

        I’d made the same assumption, and was going to suggest you ask your new manager to step in here, since it’s not as clear-cut as “you have no responsibility to these people anymore.”

        But you left the company! PLEASE BE FREE OF ALL THIS!

        I’d email just your supervisor, without Dan, and say something like:
        “Hi NAME, I’m following up to make sure you’re in the loop about the end of Dan’s training. As I told him on DATE, I will no longer be available for this work after October 31. He’s requested that we continue past that date, but that isn’t going to work with me.

        Since I started working with Dan on DATE, we have covered TOPIC, TOPIC, TOPIC, and TOPIC. He has access to my files covering CLIENT and SUBJECT. [Optional add if you have serious concerns: I found him to struggle with X and Y, so you may need to arrange for additional training there. I’ll leave that up to you.]

        My final invoice is attached. This will be the end of my business relationship with COMPANY. [Generic nice thing if you want to about how it’s been nice to work with them or wish them a happy holiday season or whatever.]

        All the best,

        1. Alanna*

          whoops meant to say “isn’t going to work for me” instead of “with” me.

          The most important thing is that line is a complete sentence. You sound like me — someone who is helpful and wants to please — but you owe these people nothing and it is not insulting or rude to draw a firm boundary. It isn’t going to work for you. That’s all they need to know.

    4. Sara without an H*

      OP#1, does Dan’s manager know about all this? I would bet you lunch money that he/she doesn’t. It would be a kindness to send some version of Alison’s script, because Dan’s manager needs to know.

      1. Massmatt*

        The former manager must know, OP has gotten paid for continuing work, and Dan has used OP’s unresponsiveness as an excuse for why work isn’t getting done. The former manager is part of the problem.

      2. Dasein9*

        I was thinking that if Dan tries blaming the OP again, the final cutoff message to Dan’s manager (with Dan cc’d) should perhaps include a brief speculation about whether Dan is a good fit for this job. That should make Dan drop the whole thing like a hot potato, iff he has any good sense at all.

        1. abcd*

          I’d almost be inclined to send an email to Dan, manager and manager’s manager. Overkill, maybe, but Dan and his manager clearly aren’t taking responsibility for Dan’s training or the tasks at hand. Manager’s manager may have issues with their employees being unable to manage their duties/employees. They may also want to know about Dan and his manager’s complete incompetence in figuring out how to complete tasks.

          1. pleaset cheap rolls*

            Phrase it in a concerned tone:

            “I’m surprised you haven’t been able to take over this work completely. Perhaps your putting some extra focus on developing the skills and systems you need to be effective would be helpful.”

          2. Empress Matilda*

            I don’t think it is overkill, actually. This place is bonkers. So it’s worth being very clear:

            Dear Dan, Former Manager, and Former Grandboss,
            Just to confirm that as of Oct 31st, I will no longer be available to provide support to you nitwits Dan and Former Company. As I resigned several months ago, it is now time for me to disengage and focus on my new career.
            Screw you, Sincerely,

      3. virago*

        OP has weighed in (as Trying to Let Go) and the situation is over the top.

        Dan makes more and has a flashier title than OP 1 for doing the same work, and OP’s former manager (Dan’s current manager) has either said or implied that she’ll report to Dan’s team that OP 1 didn’t do a good enough job of training Dan.

        I. Can’t. Even. With these people.

        1. Momma Bear*

          So the fear is that OP will be dragged for not training Dan well enough? Does OP fear a bad future reference? If it were me, I’d be real clear what Dan was trained on and how much effort (like the emails) I put into helping Dan and the advice he declined.

          Maybe this job is really for two people, but that is still not OP’s job. After five months, either Dan has it or he doesn’t and that’s not on OP. If the manager thought the training was going so poorly, the manager should have stepped in and fixed it, not thrown OP under the bus. OP has become everyone’s scapegoat. You can’t always fix someone’s opinion of you. At this point Dan’s work should speak for itself. He’s either learned or he hasn’t. Continuing to blame training after 5 months is ridiculous. Dan hasn’t availed himself of other options for the knowledge he needs and if OP’s help is so poor…why does he keep seeking it?

    5. Kirby*

      All the advice is great here. OP, please send in an update when you have one, I bet it will be a satisfying one!

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        But the update will be that the OP is doing great now, and doesn’t think about that job at all.

        We won’t get to see any update into the massive crash of Dan and his manager, as they attempt to do work that they can’t do, point fingers and blame, and all the drama in that dysfunctional workplace. We’ll stay ignorant and unsatisfied on that side. But, so will the OP, so it will be good.

    6. RB*

      I almost feel like the LW1 might have taken a different position within the same organization, it’s a bit ambiguous. Although I’m not sure if that would change any of the advice…

    7. SimplyTheBest*

      100%. Alison’s script is fine, but I honestly would just reply to both Dan and the manager and say, “In that case, it looks like this arrangement no longer works out for both of us, so I wish you the best of luck with the position.” And let that be the end of it.

    8. No name today*

      I am not sure there is any lesson in this but here’s my story:
      During the process that led up to the adoption of our child, I told my boss and a couple of others. When we were approved for a placement, I let them know that I would be leaving my job to be a SAHM when a child was placed with us. While it might happen at any time , it was likely to be a number of months, longer than a year, or possibly never. This made planning a replacement a small issue due to budget limitations in this quasi-governmental organization. After about six months, a plan was developed which involved creating a new position as a sort of deputy for the boss to which I would be promoted and hiring a direct replacement for me whom I would train. This plan had support from the top downs and made sense for a lot of reasons, especially since the boss needed the help and they wanted to have me there as long as possible. Ads were placed and we interviewed a couple of candidates. One was okay but not outstanding. Then surprise–our baby was placed and I left work on five day’s notice.
      More interviews followed and a few weeks later the boss decided to hire Phyllis, the okay candidate, since she had enough experience to know the basics of the job. I hired a sitter for a day, came in and gave her as much training as I could in person. I let Phyllis and the boss (the best one I ever had!) know that I could be available to answer questions (unpaid) if I I wasn’t tied up with baby stuff. In the next couple of months I spent a lot of baby’s naptimes answering questions which at first I did not mind. The job was complex and a lot of interaction with different people, some of whom were quirky. Then I realized that Phyllis was repeating some of the same basic questions or did not understand why things had to done a certain way. Her calls were becoming more frequent and I had less time to talk. I decided I would call the boss and let her know about this. The next day, before I could talk to the boss, Phyllis called as I was just as I was going out the door with the baby already strapped in the car seat. I explained I could not talk then and would not be available the rest of the day, but she could call the next day.
      Early the next morning, when the phone rang, I expected Phyllis to be on the line. Instead it was the boss’s secretary telling me that Phyllis had taken her own life earlier. I was pretty devastated since I had blown her off the day before. What was learned in the aftermath from her sister was that Phyllis had a history of what is now called bi-polar depression and had even been hospitalized for it. She had a toddler who was becoming more attached to the sitter than her. Her husband ( a jerk who was telling jokes with his buddies in the corner at her wake), had been pressuring her to agree to buying an unaffordable new house. Phyllis an idea that the new job was not going well after the boss mentioned something that could have been done better. On top of it all, her therapist had started her on a brand new drug for her depression — Prozac— before it was known that one of its adverse side effects is suicide. I know now that I was not responsible but have wondered all these years what would have happened if I had been able to talk to her that day.

  1. AnonEmu*

    FWIW I am in academia and have been a guest on podcasts, and it’s included in a separate section of my resume for non-academic writing (I’ve also written some invited editorials/bits for newsletters etc so it’s not just podcast episodes) and that’s worked for me so far. Because this is specifically a podcast from your office, I’d put it as a line under your larger bit re your current job and handle it that way. If you get invited to be on a work-related podcast not related to your current job but to your larger field, it might make sense to still stick it under the current job until you have enough appearances it merits a separate section.

    But yeah, agreeing with Allison that only because it’s related to your job. If your job is in llama grooming and you were on a podcast to talk about your hobby of breeding eggplants that look like actual eggs, I wouldn’t include that, as a random example.

    1. MK*

      I am wondering what this office podcast is like, how many people have they interviewed etc. Sometimes initiatives like that are independent and interesting in their own right, others it’s basically only a marketing tool for the company.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        I’d be leery of including it for this reason. If it is more directed at an internal audience or as a marketing thing then it might seem a bit like padding.

        I was in a video for a company I worked for once. I put it in as a line on the CV under that job when applying for jobs that have a public engagement aspect, or mention it in the cover letter. But I wouldn’t put it on the CV as a thing in itself unless I start getting a lot of experience doing that kind of thing.

      2. Washi*

        I had the same thought. If it was a giant company that chose you to interview (like I know Trader Joe’s has a podcast) that might be more noteworthy because presumably they chose you out of many for your articulateness and accomplishments.

        But if it’s a small company and like, 1/3 of employees have been on the podcast in some form or another, I don’t think that’s necessarily resume-worthy. I’ve occasionally appeared in promotional materials/blogs for previous nonprofits and I don’t put that on my resume because it wasn’t about recognizing me for my work, it was just the nonprofit promoting itself.

      3. anon manager*

        I think it depends on the field, how well known the podcast is, and how relevant the appearance is to your job. If you work at the New York Times as a reporter and go on The Daily regularly, I think that’s appropriate to put on a resume. It shows you have an important and distinct skill set with value to other companies (you are comfortable talking about your work and acting as an expert source/commentator), some experience with audio (a growth area for a lot of media companies), and carries some prestige because the podcast is widely listened to (which is why I specified appearing regularly rather than just once).

        On the other hand, if the New York Times Company’s PR department had a podcast where they talked to people at the Times about their jobs, and you were, say, a graphic designer who had appeared on it to talk about what you do, that’s more of a stretch — it’s a totally valid thing to do but doesn’t feel as resume-worthy.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      Fun fact for the day: eggplants are called that (in English) because with the original plants, the fruits really did look like eggs. They were small and white and egg-shaped. Bonus fact: the plant’s flowers are really attractive and some people plant them for the flowers.

      1. AnonEmu*

        Yep! I follow someone on Twitter who grows rare varietals of plants and he also has red eggplants that look a lot like tomatoes, except the shape is slightly off and the eggplants are more matte. It definitely makes you do a double take!

  2. Nikara*

    Side Comment regarding LW 5-
    We should be including speaking engagements on a resume? Oops! What is a good way to do this? When is it “significant” enough to include? Speaking at a conference? Doing an invited talk for another organization/agency? Any ideas on the best way to pull this off would be super helpful.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It depends on your field and what the engagement was. If speaking is a part of the job, it could be one bullet point under that job talking about the speaking engagements and maybe listing a few of the most impressive. If it’s not generally part of the job / wouldn’t make sense to put there, then you can have a separate section called Speaking Engagements (or Speaking Engagements/Publications, or whatever makes sense for you). But I’d keep the bar pretty high for what you include there — a talk for another org probably doesn’t meet the bar, unless it was something particularly impressive/prestigious.

      Also, in some fields (like some parts of academia) you’re supposed to include a fairly comprehensive list, but for most fields (not all, but most) a lengthy list will look out of place. For most people, I’d say just include a small sampling of the most impressive ones.

      It’s not a must-do — but if you want to emphasize your public speaking/presentation skills or it’s something that will impress or carry weight in the field you’re applying in, it’s definitely fine to do.

      1. Nikara*

        Thanks- this really helps. Time for a mid-career resume revision. I’m always grateful for the advice and ideas I get from this website. I’m in a government position, where sometimes I get invited for things that are clearly a job responsibility/part of my standard role, and sometimes I get invited to speak at things that are not. I haven’t been distinguishing, but now I will! My guess is some of the way to figure out if this is a “worthy” engagement, is if they chose me as a speaker based on my experience/reputation/resume, versus when I’m simply acting as a representative of my agency.

      2. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        Following up on this answer, if your speaking engagement has a publicly available recording (say, on an organization’s webpage or YouTube channel), is it appropriate to include a link to the recording?

        For more context, I’m a software developer, and speaking engagements are not generally part of the job. For those of use that do them, it’s both a way of demonstrating your expertise to a wider audience, and your company gets some reflected prestige (for being the sort of place that has employees with that expertise). However, most of my recorded talks are 30-60 minutes long, which is a lot of time to ask a hiring manager to look at. (I have Lightning Talks recorded, which are shorter, but which also allow anyone who shows up to present. The longer conference talks go through an application and screening process prior to some of the talks being accepted.)

  3. MJ*


    So you are continuing to do some of your old job, continuing to train Dan, continuing to contact manager/supervisor.

    There comes a time when it should be apparent to Dan’s manager that he is not able to the job as you did it. Perhaps it now needs two people, or one and a half. But you have prevented this realization – and the full consequences of it – from happening.

    Dan is not your problem, thus there is no problem for you to manage. Time to let go.

    1. Willis*

      Yeah, from OP’s description of the job, it’s not surprising Dan is overwhelmed. Sounds like it could have been a 2 person job when the OP was there as well. This is something the organization needs to fix, and I think they deserve some major side eye for allowing this to continue for 5 months (!!) and not stepping in when Dan responded to OP’s email re: the Oct 31 end date. Let them deal with it!! (I’d be tempted to just say I’m done and not even continue to the 31st, although I guess that’s only a week away at this point. But geez, OP deserves to be released from this job…)

    2. Massmatt*

      I wanted to be charitable to Dan, but this really set me off: “Dan responded and said there is no way we can do any effective training with such short notice and he can only do Saturdays.” He wants your schedule to revolve around him? Dan is acting like a jerk. And I’m not too keen on your old supervisor either, who should have put a stop to this long ago.

      You have been more than generous, and I’m glad you are getting paid for your continued work, but IMO unless you really need the money I would put a stop on this at the end of the month. As in, block Dan’s number and stop responding to his emails.

      1. Tiny Soprano*

        Not just that but he wants OP’s schedule to revolve around him FIVE MONTHS after she left. Wow. That goes beyond desperation into extreme rudeness.

      2. anon73*

        Even if he hadn’t expected her to work around hi schedule, the charity is long past due. It’s obvious that either 1. he’s not capable of doing the job or 2. there should be more than one person doing the job. OP needs to stop helping and the company needs a reality check.

      3. Momma Bear*

        What universe does Dan live in where he gets to dictate when he learns his job? I would like to live there….OP, Dan is just full of excuses. The bottom line is that you don’t work there anymore and he’s had FIVE MONTHS to figure out his role. You’ve been very generous, but you have a job and it’s not this one. You really have the upper hand – he can either take or leave it. You owe him, the old boss, and the old company nothing. Make it clear that the end date was not up for discussion. It’s like you are giving notice for a job you don’t even have anymore. They’re lucky you said the 31st at all. You could have said, “effective immediately”. In fact, maybe you should. “I am not available on Saturdays. Since it appears that you are unwilling to make yourself available on my schedule, I am no longer available for any work for Company X, effective immediately (or effective after you finish a task you started).” What will they do? Fire you? ;)

        1. Pocket Mouse*


          “As I said, I will not be able to provide training or assistance for your role past Oct. 31. As I understand our schedules through that date are incompatible, I will not be able to assist further. I wish you all the best.”

        2. designbot*

          yeah, I tend to get confused any time people around here talk about ‘training.’ The extent of training I’ve ever received at a job consisted of a couple of hours on how the servers are organized and what timesheet program we use. Dan should have been capable of doing this entire thing 5 months ago, or he either isn’t the right fit for the job or the job isn’t really one job.

          1. WS*

            Some organisations where there’s mandatory training and complex reporting and compliance (such as healthcare) do have longer training, usually not all at once. Someone could well be doing new training 5 months or 5 years along. But it wouldn’t be run by someone who already left!

      4. Birdie*

        Is OP even getting paid for ALL of this work? It sounded to me that in addition to the training, there were some specific overflow projects she agreed to complete in exchange for compensation. (Even if she is getting paid for all of it, I’m completely sure it’s not enough for the apparently indispensable work she’s been doing…)

    3. Thistle whistle*

      Ugh. Send an email to the old boss listing EVERYTHING you have covered, copying in Dan. That way he can’t whinge to the boss that you have not covered everything. Then walk away and route his emails to spam.

      A few years ago I left my job through voluntary redundancy. I already had lots of notes written up but I spent 3 of my last 5 days documenting everything I could for my role. I also spent a couple of hours going over everything with my boss.

      So 2.5 months later I got a call on my mobile from my replacement begging for help (I’d worked with him before). I spent nearly 90 minutes going over the basics as it turned out he hadn’t read any of the specific task instructions I’d left or the 20+ page overview document [copies of which were emailed to him, my two bosses and a colleague before I left as well as saved in a central drive and physically left on my desk]. He was “too busy” for that. So I talked him through the basics, pointed him at the handouts and said good luck.

      Then I contacted a couple of ex-colleagues (who knew of all the documentation I’d done) to let it be known he hadn’t even attempted to look at any of it. I did hear that at one point he was bitching to the executive director that he had been left in the lurch, and my ex-boss stepped in and told him in front of the ED that if my emails, the task instructions, the overview document or the 90 minute call was not enough he didn’t know what help would be good enough.

      1. pancakes*

        Drafting an email to summarize five months of work would be a lot of work in itself, and doesn’t seem necessary in this context — there’s no indication that the mutual supervisor disputes any aspect of it, and whether Dan whinges to anyone else isn’t the letter writer’s problem or concern.

      2. EPLawyer*

        OP doesn’t work there anymore. Not her job to summarize what she trained Dan on — after she left. Leaving training notes BEFORE you leave, yes. Making up training notes after you leave – No.

        OP1 – you are still feeling the responsibilities of this job. that is why you didn’t tell Dan to learn how to do the job for which he was hired and was being PAID for, months ago. But you left the job and moved away to focus more on your personal life. Training Dan has cut into that plan. You need to focus on your plan, not what your old company to whom you owe zero loyalty wants.

        1. a heather*

          I think the only reason she may/should do this isn’t to help Dan, but so as not to burn bridges with her old employer for potential future references. “I have gone above and beyond trying to help Dan for five months, and my schedule no longer allows this.” Less helping Dan, more CYA/helping yourself.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Perhaps, but there is a point at which you need to let it go. Be professional, but be firm. Look through the archives for how to handle a bad reference, but honestly after 10 years there are probably other collogues and managers who could fill the need if it arises. They are taking advantage of OP.

          2. soon to be former fed really*

            Yeah, it’s not normal to continue working and feeling responsible for and connected to a former employer not to burn bridges. Any company with such a skewed expectation deserves to have a bridge burnt. Ridiculous.

        2. Observer*

          It’s not her job. But I think it’s a good idea nevertheless. I don’t know if it would help avoid burnt bridges with the supervisor who sounds super unreasonable, but it would be useful for the OP.

          Firstly, I think that making that list would help the OP recognize just how much she’s already done for and organization that she has already left and that can be useful when you get used to the idea that “it’s so little”. Secondly, it will create a record for later, and I suspect that the OP might find that useful. Not in the legal sense, but if (or when) the manager tries to guilt her or possibly cause other problems for her, and easy way to quickly look back at what actually went on will come in handy.

        3. Artemesia*

          She is for some reason having trouble moving on. I think it would be good for her as well as a heads up to the manager to simply say that she had trained him for 5 mos and done some of the work and training had occurred on ABCDEFGHIJK. which presumably is everything. It will take her less time to write this memo which finishes with, Because of my own job responsibilities I will not be able to provide further support; after 5 mos he should be able to manage the job, than to continue to obsess about it and interact with these people. Dan is playing bullying male dominance games. He should be cut off clean. Certainly do not respond at all after Oct 31 and tomorrow would be fine too.

  4. MK*

    OP2, this isn’t about being old-fashioned, it’s about doing your job as an interviewer. Quite frankly, if you gave preference to a candidate for what you yourself admit might only be an empty courtesy, you would be doing the task your employer assigned you badly; they didn’t ask you to weigh in on this, as an non-department interviewer no less, to make sure the candidate’s manners will be to your liking, they probably want your perspective specifically as to what your team needs from the person in this role. If they truly are comparable (and I find it hard to believe there is no other criteria to distinguish them), maybe focus on that.

    1. KT*

      This! Also, I never heard of this convention before I started reading AAM. It depresses me to think that I might apply for jobs and not get them because somebody thinks I’m rude when I didn’t send a follow-up note.

      1. Mookie*

        Yes. As Alison notes, this is not conventional, expected, or even tolerated in every discipline or profession; in fact, it can be regarded as pushy or superfluous, like the endless email telephone of “thank you”/“you’re welcome” where no further inbox-clogging courtesies are desired or useful.

        LW, if you’re encountering this this often, maybe you and your friends (do they work in the same field?) are not with it, as they say. Also, I may be equally out of touch or just provincial, but I’ve not encountered many instances where each and every round of interviewing necessitates another obligatory debt of gratitude for each and every interviewer or member of a screening team. It’s nice, I suppose, but sounds like an awful lot of busywork for a potential future colleague. That you are not the hiring manager in these situations may also explain this behavior.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          Agree it’s not necessary, but it’s also very common, so let’s not go too far in the other direction – is it really considered pushy (or not tolerated?) to send a follow up note after an interview?

          1. Ponytail*

            In my field it would be bizarre to send or receive thank you notes, but I’m in the UK. I would definitely go on the side of it seeming pushy, and I would have been quite discomfited to receive a thank you note after interviewing candidates. Not to the point of striking a mark against them, but it would not have helped them in any way.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It’s a US thing, not a UK one. In the US, post-interview notes are so incredibly common (and recommended) that it would be bizarre for it to be held against a candidate in most fields.

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                yes, I have noticed that north Americans do it all the time. I must admit it warms me to the candidate.

            2. Marion Ravenwood*

              I’m in the UK as well, and the closest I’ve got to sending a thank you note after an interview is in the wider context of asking for feedback or following up when I didn’t hear back in the expected time frame. It’s definitely not a standard thing over here to just send a thank you note, at least in my experience.

            3. Magenta*

              I’m in the UK, I’ve only ever had one thank you email after an interview. At the time I thought it was quite sweet, but it didn’t impact my decision to hire her. As it turned out the candidate was really pushy about everything and I regretted hiring her.

        2. Oui oui*

          I can assure you that anyone who correctly uses “provincial” in a discussion is in no way provincial.

      2. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

        This shouldn’t factor into the decision at all. It’s unlikely that all the candidates are so evenly matched in every respect, that you have to resort to “sent a thank you note: YES/NO” to make a choice.

        If you see the thank-you note as an indicator of respect or good manners (it’s not), it will bias you against people who don’t send one.

        I’ve been working for big companies for almost 30 years and I only found out about interview thank-you notes when I started reading AAM.

        My family didn’t have much in the way of interview advice to offer and I started out pretty clueless. In fact, at one of my first interviews I was asked where I wanted to be in 5 years and I said “well, I really want to be an architect”. I didn’t realise that was a Bad Thing until the recruiter phoned and shouted at me.

        1. Rayray*

          He called and shouted at you?

          That’s an incredible overreaction.

          Besides, if you wanted to be an architect, what’s wrong with that? I’m guessing by context you were young and this probably wasn’t a senior level job or anything. Sounds like you dodged a bullet if a company got that mad that a human being would dare have goals and desires for their own life. They just wanted a mindless robot to drink the kool aid and dedicate their life to them.

        2. OP#2 - Notes*

          Hi! I’m catching up on all the comments, although I didn’t expect so many people to weigh in! This is for fairly entry level positions and honestly the interviewees haven’t done much to distinguish themselves. I definitely acknowledge it’d be a bit of a cop out, but it was certainly tempting to want to be able to leverage something as simple as this to help with deciding who I should recommend. The question is a little moot, because I finished with the 9th (and final) interview yesterday and no notes in sight, so I can’t consider it anyways.

    2. Snow Globe*

      I’ve noticed in the past that Alison prefer not to refer to the post-interview note as a ‘thank you’ note, because it implies that the interviewer is somehow doing the candidate a favor by interviewing them. As MK stated above, this is your job, you aren’t doing the candidate a favor (in your case you are doing a favor to the *hiring manager* by weighing in) and there is no real reason for them to *thank* you. You are tasked with finding the best candidate for the position; don’t overlook the top candidate because they didn’t send a note.

      1. designbot*

        Exactly! And in the context of it being more of a follow-up note than a formal thank-you, LW isn’t the interviewer who would logically receive that. If I were that candidate, I absolutetly would’ve sent a thank you note… to the hiring manager. Which is not LW. Accept that you’re not the focus of this process and get over it.

    3. The Other Victoria*

      On top of that, the fact that they are not the hiring manager might be part of the reason they’re not getting these notes. When I was on the job market, often times I would meet 3-4 people other than the hiring manager. I would remember first names, but keeping everyone’s last name straight to find the email (and sometimes people were cc’ed on the virtual invite who weren’t present, etc). So I would follow up with the hiring manager and include a line asking them to convey my thanks to the other people who were involved in the process (if it was 3 or 4 people I did so by name, but my last interview for my current role there were probably half a dozen people on the call, so I just said “please convey my gratitude to everyone who took the time to attend my presentation.”)

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        Yup! I’ve also been cut off by a recruiter who I found out later didn’t forward on my note. I’ve also been given out of date business cards – the emails didn’t work, or only had the generic HR email, which never got forwarded on. Or my email got caught in their spam filter.

        There’s so many reasons that someone would have written a note but it didn’t end up to anyone, let alone every single person that attended one part of the interview process.

      2. Littorally*

        Right, that’s the immediate thing that jumped out at me. OP shouldn’t just be polling their friends about thank-you notes in general — they should be asking if candidates should reasonably be expected to send a separate individualized note to every single person they talked to.

        I think that’s really excessive, personally. Following up with the hiring manager is plenty!

        1. The Other Victoria*

          Yes, the only time I’ve ever sent thank yous beyond a hiring manager was when it was a day-long interview I had to travel for and people were doing things like picking me up and taking me to the airport, taking me to lunch, etc.

      3. IL JimP*

        this is exactly what I was going to say here, she’s not exactly the hiring manager so it’s likely she wouldn’t be directly included like you mention

    4. AnotherAlison*

      When I started out, I was sure to send thank-yous. I still try to send a literal “thank you for your time” email to the interviewer, but I don’t do as much of the selling-myself emails now.

      If someone sends or doesn’t send me a follow-up is usually irrelevant. My opinion is formed from the interview and we often discuss candidates and make a decision to move forward or not the same day. The exception is the very high level candidates, but that’s not usually such a secretive one-way process. Usually, we are trying to sell ourselves to them, and there can be ongoing conversation both directions after the interviews.

      I don’t consider it rude if people don’t follow up or overly aggressive if people do. Like you say, that’s probably not the critical factor. And sometimes you just don’t get the interviewers card or email!

    5. soon to be former fed really*

      I always sent thank you notes, didn’t always get the job. Don’t know if it made a difference or not. Maybe the super charismatic and successful job hunter from yesterday can chime in to let us know if they always sent thank you notes.

      My DD always sends them and is pretty successful in her job hunting also. It can’t hurt and only takes a moment to send an email, so why not do it?

  5. Rick T*

    LW #1, you have been incredibly generous continuing to train your replacement for these many months. When November 1 arrives I’d start blocking their calls and emails and move on with your lower-stress life. 20 weeks of turnover is more than enough, and if Dan can’t do the job after all this time his manager needs to find that out now.

    1. allathian*

      Yes, this is very important. At least the OP has been getting paid for this work, but now it’s definitely time to cut the cord. After all, they switched jobs to get a better work-life balance, but with Saturdays spent working at the old job, that isn’t happening.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Agreeing with being glad that OP was getting paid, but at this point you took a new job to have a better work/life balance. You’ve been very gracious with the amount of training time you gave Dan, but now he needs to get on with doing the job on his own.

        Its time to take care of you. Your boundaries weren’t unreasonable, stick to them and be clear about them to Dan’s current/your former manager.

        1. virago*

          Agreeing with being glad that OP was getting paid, but at this point you took a new job to have a better work-life balance.

          And it’s hard enough to achieve work-life balance when you have one job, let alone two, fer crying out loud.

          You’ve been more than generous to Dan and your old boss. If you don’t cut them off, they’ll never leave you alone.

          If you’re worried about their giving you a critical reference, any future employer that you’d want to work for would get it once you mentioned the source of the strain with your former employer.

        2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          Its time to take care of you. Your boundaries weren’t unreasonable, stick to them and be clear about them to Dan’s current/your former manager.

          +1. And I’ll be Dan does better than you’ll expect; there’s a decent chance he’s only leaning on you because you’re there to lean on. And if not… there’s no more ambitious teacher than being thrown into the deep end.

          Btw, love the username. That’s a fantastic song.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Thanks – I’ve always been a Billy Joel fan – and love trying to introduce people to some of the less well known songs.

    2. Archaeopteryx*

      OP1, The other issue is that it’s possible you were devoting way too much time and energy to this job even before you left it. You mentioned it requiring your energy 24/7, and unless your job was something like “international superspy”, that’s probably way too much and an unhealthy work life balance.

      So it’s possible that while your workplace benefited from that while you were there, now they’re suffering from the fact that your own over devotion to it was covering up the fact that this job has enough work for two people, not for one. Continuing to help your replacement is just obscuring information that they need in order to make good decisions – at some point they need to figure out whether this is too much for one person.

    3. Coffee Bean*

      LW 1 – I think you need to consider if anyone in your old company – including Dan, your former boss, or your coworkers – would be so generous as to provide training for five months after their departure from the company. If the answer is “No”, you need to stop now. You owe these people nothing. You have had a serious health issue. Focus on you, your health, and your new job.

      FWIW, I have worked with people who continued to complain months after they took over a role from someone else that there wasn’t adequate training or documentation. It was never an issue with the training or documentation. It was an issue with the individual who took over the role not bothering to pay attention – or – not reading through the documentation. Even if something happens to be missing (which I sincerely doubt in your case), someone with aptitude is going to be able to leverage what they have learned from training and documentation to figure it out and fill in the blanks. Dan is looking for someone to blame for his ineptitude.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Or even at this point leverage what they know about the job to know who in the company to ask for help on something he doesn’t know (without reaching out to the person who left the job 5months ago).

  6. Alldogsarepuppies*

    LW5. It would depend, to me on what kind of podcast. In a world where everyone has a podcast, I wouldn’t use it if you appeared on your buddies show but would for an NPR, earwolf, gimlet, etc show

      1. Oui oui*

        I must admit your achievement is far more impressive to me than someone appearing on the earwolf or gimlet show.

    1. Prosaic*

      LW #2: Depending on how many people are interviewing the candidate in a single day, I wouldn’t take offense to not receiving a thank-you e-mail, especially if you’re not the hiring manager. Recently, I was one of at least 9 people to interview a candidate. My spouse met with 12 people in a single day (usually in pairs). I personally met with 6 people in my last interview and I sent a thank-you e-mail to the hiring manager, but no one else.

  7. Beth*

    OP1: Have a good laugh at Dan’s audacity in the privacy of your home. He thinks he can dictate your schedule? You already quit your job (which is now his). You also already gave notice on the training/supporting him side gig he’s gotten you roped into–which sounds like it’s a gig you never wanted, but since you’ve already told him you’re ready to stop, it’s abundantly clear you don’t want it now. What leverage does he think he has over you, that he thinks he can order you to work weekends and extend your end date?? How ridiculous!

    When you’re done laughing, send the email to your supervisor that Alison suggested. Your former employer will be fine. They can figure out how to train Dan internally, they can hire him an assistant, or they can let him go (as it sounds like he’s not up to the job) and find a replacement. No matter what they do, it’s not your problem anymore; you’ll be with your family and living your life.

    1. Observer*

      Your former employer will be fine. . . . No matter what they do, it’s not your problem anymore;

      Well, maybe they will be fine or maybe they won’t. But it’s not your problem anymore: Or as others have put it “Not your circus, not your monkeys”.

  8. Dan*


    If the candidates are *truly* comparable, then I think that’s your report up to the key decision makers. A perfunctory one line thank you note shouldn’t have any bearing on that. (If I were the HM, and I also thought all three were truly comparable, then a perfunctory thank you note could be the tie breaker. But that should be really far down the list of things they should be concerned about.)

    Also, keep in mind that some people will only send notes to the heads of the hiring panel. I’ve had interviews where I’ve interacted with close to a dozen people over the course of the day. Some are going to have stronger roles in the decision that others. If I didn’t spend much time with someone and they’re not a key player, what is it that I could (or should?) say to them that wasn’t already said to the 11 other people? In these cases, a couple of notes to the top dogs should suffice.

    1. Rachel*

      Yes!! This has come up in previous AAMs, and I am always surprised that Alison doesn’t suggest that the talent coordinator is getting the thank yous and not forwarding them on.

      I recently had interviews with emails in the Zoom invite, but felt uncomfortable using them because the interviewers themselves did not give them to me (maybe they didn’t know; it’s not like getting handed a business card). Each time I sent the thank you to the coordinator that I had been doing all of my communicating through with a note of “can you please send this along to the interviewing committee?”. The only exception there was when the hiring manager had contacted me directly from his email during the process.

      1. Super Admin*

        Yeah, in my role as administrator supporting a manager who does a lot of hiring, I rarely see the applicants’ emails, and they don’t have access to anyone else’s emails beyond the Talent Co-ord. Could they look them up? Probably, but honestly, it’d be weird.

        (Side note, our Talent Acquisition team do not share much identifying info before interviews because we as a company try to avoid any potential gender or race bias – we sometimes just get initials at the CV stage!)

        I’m also in the UK where post-interview thank you notes are pretty unheard of so I may be biased here, but OP isn’t the hiring manager. They’re a member of the interview panel. If I as a candidate were to send a thank you the last thing I would want to do is spam everyone from the interview – I’d send it to TA or the hiring manager only.

      2. Brooks Brothers Stan*

        > Yes!! This has come up in previous AAMs, and I am always surprised that Alison doesn’t suggest that the talent coordinator is getting the thank yous and not forwarding them on.

        Same, this has usually been my practice as they were the ones who offered their emails to me. I have always included “Be sure to give my thanks to [specific people I interacted with]” as it would make for an easy forward to those specific people. And as someone that has been the contact point for those being brought in, I have consistently been on the receiving end of “please pass along my thanks” emails. I also sent those along, as well.

        Now, if I was specifically given a business card during the interview I will send an email personally as that’s just good networking practice. But I agree, if I wasn’t personally given the person’s contact information during the process I would feel that it was overly pushy and familiar to reach out directly to a person I may have interacted with for less than five minutes.

    2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Dan, it’s time to stop doodling on AAM and get on with your job so OP1 can relax at last!/h

  9. D2*

    I read LW 1 that she was still at the organization, but in another role in another state? How does one navigate boundaries in this situation? Block/ignore wouldn’t necessarily work in that case.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oh, interesting — I think she left the org entirely. Letter-writer, if you see this, can you clarify? If she’s still with the same employer, she can still set boundaries but the tone would be a little different and she’d want to loop in her current boss for support in cutting this off.

      1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        Also, LW, how did they select Dan to begin with? From his sheer level of incompetence I get the “boss’s nephew” vibe. And to second everyone else, these conversations should no longer be with him; it’s the former supervisor who is responsible for his incompetence.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          heavy with responsibility, 24/7 weekends and evenings

          IDK. It certainly sounds like a very difficult and demanding job and maybe the LW was a “rock star” to be able to do it all herself. Dan is likely overwhelmed if someone with 10 years experience eventually left because of the high stress. That said, Dan does sound like a jerk for being so demanding about someone is who freelancing for his benefit. It’s time to let him sink or swim on his own.

    2. Granger Chase*

      I really hope LW1 left the company! If she is still there it means not only have Dan and her former supervisor been expecting her to continue training him + doing parts of her former job for *FIVE MONTHS*, but that her current supervisor in her new role has been aware of it continuing for this long as well & hasn’t done anything to curtail it. At that point, I’d be taking a real hard look at the company (and that’s with me already side eying them for the fact that she was still working that crazy schedule during chemo treatments!)

    3. Beth*

      I don’t think LW1 is still in the same organization. They talk about it as their former job, their former supervisor, etc.

      But if they were in the same organization–there are lots of ways they could push back. They could say “I wouldn’t be excited about that/that doesn’t really align with my career goals,” and feel out the response. They could talk to their new supervisor about how this holdover duty is interfering with their ability to commit their time fully to their new role and limiting their ability to focus on projects for their new team. They could remind their employer that they specifically chose to leave their last role for something lower key–probably taking a pay cut in the process, because jobs with high responsibility and ridiculous hours do tend to pay more–and hint that the transition really needs to wrap up soon or they’ll be on the job market again. They could simply be unavailable outside their new role’s standard work hours, as a general rule (this wouldn’t fly in some positions, but in a role that’s usually a M-F 8-5 deal, employers would be hard-pressed to object to LW having weekend and evening plans–and LW wouldn’t have to tell them if those plans were “sit on the couch with delicious takeout.”)

      The complicating factor would be if the employer decided, for some reason, that it was in their best interest for LW to keep doing this. They could, in theory, decide it’s officially part of LW’s job duties and adjust LW’s compensation and title accordingly, and if they did, LW would have to decide whether it was worth quitting over. But most managers won’t want to lose their employee’s time and energy, much less risk a good employee walking, just to let some other department have a ridiculously long training period. It might take longer than just being able to say “Ha! No way!” but LW would still probably be able to get some traction on dropping these duties.

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I am honestly unclear whether OP is in the same company, different department or has left the prior organization completely. I think the best approach is firmly polite that “I’m just not able to continue with two jobs/roles.”

      And absolutely agree that if OP is still with the company get your current manager to support you in not continuing to support Dan past the five months of “training” that he’s already gotten.

    5. Batty Twerp*

      Yes, I interpreted it like that because of the use of the term “mutual manager”.
      If that’s the case, everybody who needs to know is already looped in! Just put your foot down (you can still do this with your manager, who really ought to know better – sounds like a dysfunctional org) say that your workload doesn’t allow for additional training, put the problem back on your mutual manager’s plate and stop answering Dan’s requests outside the hours you’ve already given.
      If anyone at your company other than yourself is anywhere near competent, this should be sufficient.
      (Signed, someone who is still doing bits of her previous role 12 months after moving on because Covid screwed everything up. My personal Dan is actually awesome and was the one who pointed out that I had sent the original – complicated, he’s not going to work this out on his own – work instructions at the end of November last year! He’s been very respectful in his requests to cover off this final bit of hand over, as it’s been MY schedule that’s prevented it, not his demands. My manager has also been apologetic for it getting out of her hands as well, but that’s what a global crisis will do *sigh*)

      1. Daeva*

        “our mutual supervisor from my former job” – that doesn’t read to me like this person is her current manager at all! Just that this manager is the person they have in common, as having managed them both.

        1. Batty Twerp*

          Ok, I’m going to blame that on my phone because I read it twice and there was an ad blocking the second half of the paragraph that said “former job”.
          Lesson learned – I’m sticking to the desktop browser version.

    6. Myrin*

      I think you might be misreading the “mutual supervisor” part – the whole sentence says “our mutual supervisor from my former job“, meaning the person who supervised them both when they were still both part of the same organisation.

    7. JustKnope*

      LW mentions getting paid hourly to do parts of her old job – I definitely don’t think that would be happening if she were still in the same organization.

    8. Jennifer*

      In that case she may be able to loop in her current boss as an ally. I know a lot of managers wouldn’t be happy about their employee having a department unrelated to her job demanding this much of her time.

    9. anon73*

      She states that she “had a job” and then moved and “accepted another job”. Even if it were within the same company, she still has grounds to put her foot down on this. When you move to another position in the same company, it’s easier for the newbie to ask questions, but there’s a point where it needs to stop. And considering she was being paid for helping, this tells me it wasn’t the same company.

      1. Mockingjay*

        Yep. Years ago I did an internal transfer, but my old department kept “borrowing” me back for weeks at a time. After six months I was fed up (I got out of there for good reason) and my manager and I went to my new grandboss for help. He firmly informed the other department that I was no longer available, period.

    10. Jaybeetee*

      Yeah, I read it as she left the org entirely and has a new job, but has been providing consultancy services while Dan got up to speed – except 5 months in, Dan is evidently still not up to speed, and seems to want to keep LW “on retainer” forever.

  10. Julia*

    OP2: I’m curious – do you send the candidates a thank you note for taking the trouble to do an interview?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Eh, the OP isn’t responsible for the one-sidedness of the thank-you note convention. And when it’s been drilled into you as a job seeker that you’re expected to send thank-you notes and then you become involved with hiring, it’s understandable to wonder how big a deal it is when someone doesn’t do them. She’s not rejecting people over it; she’s asking for input and advice on whether she should change her perspective.

      1. Caradh*

        “With the candidates all being comparable, any candidate sending me a note is certainly going to rank higher for me. Am I being old-fashioned with this?” Doesn’t sound like someone asking for input and advice about changing their perspective, just sounds like someone who has made up their mind and is looking for validation. I think you’re being far too charitable to this OP!

        1. Mystery Bookworm*

          I disagree. If OP has no openness to being wrong, then why write in at all? They may be feeling defensive, but they’re also being proactive in reaching out.

          Even the person who wrote in just to defend their position of “I ask for canidate’s salary expectiantions and I don’t feel bad’ — ended up reconsidering parts of their viewpoint.

        2. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

          I like how Alison noted that some fields just don’t have this as a convention- might I add, many countries as well! I am still trying to figure out if it’s acceptable here in Germany or not.

          1. UKDancer*

            I’d defer to native Germans on this as I’ve lived in Germany but never worked there but I’d tend to say probably not. I mean I don’t think it would do you massive harm but my feeling for German culture is that it probably isn’t a thing that’s commonly done.

            1. Brooks Brothers Stan*

              Not a native German, but it’s not commonly done at all for German based firms. In fact, it may hurt your chances if written in the standard American way of being overly thankful and showing false enthusiasm.

              1. Duck*

                being overly thankful and showing false enthusiasm wouldn’t go over very well in the US either. A well written thank you/follow up note could help you candidacy, but a schmaltzy one will definitely hurt your chances.

                1. UKDancer*

                  I think the thing is that the level of appropriate enthusiasm varies across culture and what comes across as genuine in the US doesn’t always translate. For example one of the reasons Walmart failed in Germany was that the greeters and the level of customer engagement which was quite acceptable in the US came across as unduly intrusive and insincere in Germany.

                  Likewise if a German company wanted to establish in the US they’d need to do quite a bit of customer service training to fit in as there are parts of Germany where “grumpy but hearty” is a descriptor that’s worn with pride.

                  So I think on balance I wouldn’t send a letter in Germany.

                2. pancakes*

                  Duck, if that was true I don’t think this blog would receive nearly as many letters as it does from people struggling with bosses who like and expect false enthusiasm. The letter writer here isn’t looking for a well written thank you, either — to the contrary, they made a point of saying they’d “be thrilled with even a one-line acknowledgement.”

                3. Non non*

                  UK Dancer, the irony is that many Walmart “greeters” seem to act like their job is actually that of a “mall cop” which means actually friendliness from many of them is exceedingly rare.

              2. Mystery Bookworm*

                I hear what you’re saying, but ‘false enthuasim’ implies an insight into someone else that we really don’t have.

                Maybe what you’re going for is that, within the context of German culture, a lot of American mannerisms can read as false enthuasim.

                But it isn’t fair to say that Americans are all being fake when they send thank you notes.

                I’m definitely more vocally enthusiastic than my Swedish family members, for example – but it’s not fake, it’s what feels natural to me.

                1. Madame X*

                  I think the point here is that what may come off as genuinely enthusiastic to Americans might be perceived as overly enthusiastic to Germans.

                2. Brooks Brothers Stan*

                  That’s exactly what I was trying to convey, thank you for translating my pre-coffee thoughts! UKDancer hit on this in their comment about Walmart in Germany. What Americans take as the baseline for enthusiasm in often seen as insincere and intrusive in other cultures. An example of how what is standard for America might translate as ‘false’ enthusiasm is a common discussion I’ve had with visiting scholars: when American’s ask “how’s it going” it isn’t an actual request for personal information, it’s just a standard greeting. Which is usually met with confusion along the lines of, “why even ask if you don’t want an answer.”

                3. londonedit*

                  Brooks Brothers Stan – exactly, it’s similar in the UK too. British people in general really struggle with, for example, American shops where as soon as you walk in the door someone’s there saying ‘Hello! How can I help you? Hope you have a good day!’ That might read as completely normal and polite and helpful in the USA, but many British people will see it as overfamiliar, intrusive and insincere.

                4. Duck*

                  @ Brooks, Americans are certainly not the only people who use “how’s it going” as a greeting without expecting an actual answer. That’s pretty common in most parts of the world. 

                5. Mockingjay*

                  My daughter, who has a lot of experience in retail, informs me that the standard hearty American greeting is often a loss prevention technique. The greeting means the employee has taken note of your presence in the store. But as we’re in the South, it’s also just part of life. *shrugs

                  Walmart, on the other hand…I was living in Germany during that failed experience. A German friend and I visited one out of curiosity. After living there for several years, I cringed at the greeting. My friend was bemused.

                6. pleaset cheap rolls*

                  “My daughter, who has a lot of experience in retail, informs me that the standard hearty American greeting is often a loss prevention technique.”

                  As a young black man, I didn’t even get it that hearty sometimes: just “Can I help you?” in an annoyed tone.

            2. InCH*

              I work in German-speaking Switzerland (though I’m not a native Swiss), and my understand is that thank-you notes after an interview are at best effectively unheard of here, and at worst would rather be received negatively (making the applicant seem over-eager in a brown-nosing way). I imagine it’s the same in Germany.
              Again, I’m not Swiss, so I’d be willing to be corrected, but when I moved here from the US I had to recalibrate certain professional expectations, including this one.

          2. Myrin*

            It’s not.
            (This is so abrupt that I feel like I have to add something but yeah, it’s not a thing at all and in fact would probably get you branded as a bit weird because I bet you that no one who hasn’t had extensive exposure to American workplace norms has ever even heard of it. I certainly hadn’t before I started reading AAM.)

          3. Helvetica*

            Every time thank you notes for interviews come up, I am fascinated because it doesn’t exist as a concept nor a convention in my European country either. I could only imagine sending something if it was my dream job and I’d really want to make sure they’d remember me. But just a thank you for having been interviewed would, in essence, be considered extremely weird here.

        3. Artemesia*

          The big problem with this is how classist it is. I know when I started looking for a job it would never have occurred to me to do this as I came from a working class background and these kinds of things were totally foreign to me. It isn’t an ‘obvious’ thing to do — it is a learned behavior and not particularly relevant to most jobs outside of the development office.

          1. boop the first*

            Indeed, as a blue collar person, the idea of thank you notes (terrible name for these) kind of grosses me out. It’s weird to talk about interviews like they’re a two-way road, but then turn around and remind interviewers that they’re blessing you with some huge favor.

            But that might just because they’re called “thank you notes”, cringe!

            As a socially awkward and nervous person, they might be more popular if you called them “corrections notes”.

        4. OP#2 - Notes*

          Hi! OP#2 here – Alison is right, I am really looking for other perspectives. I would never mark someone as “do not hire” because they didn’t send a note, but if I found several of the candidates equally suitable, I know I would personally feel stronger about a candidate who sent a follow up note. In this case I’m really struggling to recommend any candidate over another, so that’s why I was looking for another avenue to consider. It sounds like I’ll just have to tell the hiring manager I don’t have any to recommend or warn against.

          1. Mookie*

            If you’re struggling, wouldn’t it be better to check in with the hiring manager as to what to consider next rather than fall back on a rather unsubstantive metric informed by your own tastes?

        5. soon to be former fed really*

          People are selected for sillier reasons than this, when otherwise equally qualified. Meh, not a crime.

  11. Bob*

    LW1: If i were you i would send a final e-mail explaining in fair detail what you have trained Dan on, and how many times. And if there was anything you didn’t cover mention that also so they can “train” him on it. This way when he tries to smear you there is written documentation to the contrary.
    And if you have other documentation keep it handy, not to be used to suck you back in but in case you need to back yourself up if things somehow escalate. But this should not happen.
    That said make this a clean break. Once you do what Alison has suggested and sent the closing e-mail i suggest moving on. If Dan or the company reaches out to you mention that you covered everything and you are happy you were able to help them out. Repeat as necessary. Block their e-mails after a few repetitions (redirect to an archive folder in case someone goes crazy).

    1. anon73*

      That’s a lot of work for OP. Clean break, yes. Summary of everything she’s trained Dan on for 5 months, no. And documentation in case of escalation? She doesn’t work there anymore so I’m not sure why this would be necessary. She’s been far more generous than she should have been, and they’ve been taking full advantage.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        To be fair, while the summary *is* a lot of work, it’s definitely something I would do to smooth over my own feelings on the subject. It would feel to be a cleaner break to me personally. Which is 100% not applicable to everyone, for sure, but I would totally get why the OP might feel it necessary to do this.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        I think it could help the OP make a clean break. Dan seems to be twisting the truth into a completely unrecognizable shape, and a short overview of what the OP has done could be a formal send-off, and let her finally speak her piece.

        As of today, October 31, I’ve provided training to Dan on the following:
        – TPS reports
        – Teapot spout handling
        – Chocolate teapot tempering
        – Llama care, including feeding and grooming

        As discussed earlier, I’m not available for further training after this date. Best of luck to you all.

      3. Bob*

        Considering how much work the OP has done its small potatoes and should not even take long.
        I agree she has been far more than generous, this is a final step for closure and for documentation.
        Then the ball is out of her court, what the boss does with it is not something to be very concerned about.

    2. Malarkey01*

      I think this is a bit much. At this point the LW doesn’t need any written documentation- she’s left they can’t do anything to her other than a bad reference. They were either going to give her a good or bad reference regardless of any email she sends now.

      All Dan needs to do is say “nope she’s wrong in her email and didn’t train me” and if manager was dumb enough to let this go on for 5 months he’s not taking an email from LW over Dan. It’s a normal course of business that outgoing people don’t cover all training needs -usually a new person isn’t even on board by the time you leave. This is a backwards organization and LW can wash her hands without jumping through any more hoops or accepting anymore responsibility.

      1. Observer*

        The written documentation is for her to have to refer back to should it become relevant. And to give her internal clarity that she’s done enough and then some.

        It might also be useful it making it clear to FORMER boss that she’s done and he’s not going to be able to guilt her by saying “but you haven’t REALLY helped us THAT much.”

  12. A.N. O'Nyme*

    “Dan responded and said there is no way we can do any effective training with such short notice and he can only do Saturdays.” What does Dan think you’ve been doing for the past few months, exactly? Is he aware that you left, or does he think there’s now two of you doing the work?

    1. Jennifer*

      Who does this dude think he is??? I was rendered speechless when he suggested working on Saturdays.

    2. WellRed*

      Also at some point, training ends. You need to pick it up on your own. No one has expectations of personal custom training to go on for months.

    3. Ama*

      I’m late on this but it sounds to me like Dan assumed OP would be available to him indefinitely to lean on and is now panicking because he realizes he hasn’t bothered to learn anything because he could rely on OP to do it for him or at least tell him how. Which is totally a Dan problem and not the OP’s.

    4. Paulina*

      I interpret this as Dan having thought he could get help from the OP indefinitely, and only now that the plug is about to be pulled is he going to train seriously. Which is a crap set of assumptions for a replacement employee to make about someone who has left 5 months ago.

  13. Gimmeausername*

    OP2, no idea where you come from/ where your job is based, but in these days of virtual interviews you may be interviewing people who aren’t based in the US.

    Thank you notes seem to be an American convention. I’m in Europe and I’d never seen post-interview thank yous recommended before reading AAM

    1. UKDancer*

      Yes I’d say they’re definitely not a UK convention and I’ve not come across them in the other EU countries I’ve worked in either. So very much a US thing and I don’t think it’s universal there.

      1. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

        I’ve never heard of thank you notes in the UK. I think it would be looked at a bit oddly here.

        1. Mystery Bookworm*

          Yup! I sent them when I started interviewing here (I’m American) and I think people found them a bit cloying. Luckily I was in a position where they were able to share that with me (not in so many words).

          1. londonedit*

            Cloying is a good word! Thank you notes are definitely not a UK thing. I don’t think it would actively harm anyone’s chances, but it would definitely get a side-eye sort of response, like ‘What does this person want?’ You do the ‘Thank you for your time’; ‘Nice to meet you’; ‘Thanks for coming, we’ll be in touch’; ‘Looking forward to hearing from you’ thing at the end of the interview and in UK culture it comes across as a bit obsequious to then send a separate email repeating it all. Like you’re trying to inveigle your way in, somehow.

            1. Gloria*

              The purpose of a thank you note is not to literally thank the interview again. The purpose is to continue the conversation that was started in the interview. Although, they seem to be becoming less common these days– I think because its seen as the employers responsibility to take the next step, not the candidate.

              1. Mockingjay*

                Follow-up note might be a better term.

                I’ve never not sent a note, but reflecting on today’s thread, I probably could have skipped a few, as they were perfunctory and didn’t offer any new insight on my candidacy.

    2. Gloria*

      Just because virtual interviews are becoming more common doesn’t mean that employers are interviewing people who aren’t based in the US. That’s a weird conclusion to jump to. There are laws restricting who an employer can hire for a US-based position and those laws haven’t changed just because Zoom is becoming popular.

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        I agree, it’s very unlikely they’ve suddenly expanded international due to virtual working.

        That said, I do think it’s worth considering that people based locally may have different cultural backgrounds and so some might not be familiar with these conventions.

        1. Gloria*

          I think if someone is applying to jobs outside of their own culture, its the applicant’s responsibility to learn and follow job search conventions of the culture they are applying to work in. When I worked in Europe, I followed European conventions. It would have been strange for me not to.

          1. Mystery Bookworm*

            I certainly agree. But we can expect that people might miss some aspects. I’ve lived in the UK for three years, and every once in awhile, I still stumble upon a new cultural convention I wasn’t aware of.

            Thank you notes for interviews, in particular, are something that would happen in the privacy of someone’s home — so it’s very easy to imagine an otherwise excellent canidate who may have not learned about this particular convention.

            1. Thankful for AAM*

              I lived in the UK many years ago and learned new conventions during the entire 3 years I was there.
              One, related to jobs, is the rejection letters I got. They all started with, “Further to your request . . . ” and then some vague reference to the job posting. It took me a minute to realize it was a rejection letter.

              When I got the first one, I thought, how oddly phrased, glad they did not hire me. When I got the second one, then I realized that’s how they write rejection letters.

              I struggled to figure out what “further to your request” means; to take it one step further? where, how far? What request, they requested people apply to a job posting, I did not start the request. I realize it means “in response to your application,” but why not just say that. Obviously, its a convention but one I did not know and have never seen or heard before or since (despite reading a fair number of UK novelists, news etc).

              1. The Chives*

                I was born in and have always lived and worked in the UK and have never heard of that either! How weird. “Further to your application…’ or ‘Further to your interest in [position]’, yes.

                What field/profession was this? Or was it across the board?

          2. SarahKay*

            The problem is, you don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes it would just never occur to you to ask a question, because it’s so far outside your experience, and it doesn’t occur to anyone to tell you because it’s so basic to them.

    3. Mystery Bookworm*

      Yes. I definitely noticed a shift in this when I moved from the US to the UK.

      I also wonder if some industries and career paths place more emphasis on them than others.

      In my experience working in marketing, they were very common….but now that I’m in a more specialized health field they seem less common.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Even when I worked in the US they seemed like a bit of an old-fashioned thing and not really done in all fields. I worked in health insurance for a while and I don’t think I ever sent a post-interview thank you note, and this was in the late 90s. It would definitely come across strangely in my current field, I think.

    4. uncivil servant*

      I think it’s more that the convention is dying off in the US. When so many people haven’t heard of an etiquette rule, is it that more people are rude or that the rule itself is changing?

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        This too. I think this every time the subject of thank you notes comes up, whether in the context of personal gift-giving occasions or interviews. Culture and etiquette changes over time.

    5. WellRed*

      I think we can assume OP knows what country the interviewee is in. They make no mention of looking for international candidates and in the US, at least, that would be less common than I imagine it is in Europe.

    6. OP#2 - Notes*

      I’m US based and all the candidates are as well, so I don’t think it’s a cultural difference

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        US culture is not a monolith, and I think it’s pretty clear from the comments sections on various things that are stylistic and/or industry-dependent – just as of late, two column resumes, cover letters, and thank you notes – that there are cultural differences within the US re interview thank you notes.

        My spouse is not a thank-you note person, especially if he thanked someone for their time at the end of the interview or thanked someone for a gift when they received it. He finds it superfluous and was taught that it was a waste of money for an empty gesture (in the same vein as calling cards). My family is really into thank-you notes (my mother would actually not allow me to have/use the gifts until I wrote them) and taught me they were a necessary part of the hiring process and a great affront not to send them. We grew up in the same state and still have a cultural difference on the subject. (Though I overcame my upbringing and am entirely neutral on receiving the from interviewees – they have zero bearing on who I hire.)

      2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I’m also American, from the middle of the country, and my parents are vaguely middle class. Thank you notes were not really a thing for my family or anyone I know, except for really special occasions (like weddings and graduations). I learned that thank you notes after an interview were kind of a nice bonus, like using fancy paper for your resume.

  14. Ana Gram*

    OP2- I’ve hired over 100 people (and interviewed far more) and I’ve received 2 written thank you notes and one emailed thank you. It’s nice to receive a thank you note but it’s unusual enough that I definitely don’t think less of those candidates who don’t send one. I look at it like this- when I interviewed them, I was doing my job, not a favor for them and I don’t need a thank you note for performing my basic job duties. It’s like a bonus- nice to get but never expected.

    1. OP#2 - Notes*

      That’s a good way to think about it. I had asked this before completing interviews, and I was preparing to deal with how it would impact my opinions of the candidates if only one sent a note and I felt there was no other differences between the candidates. I know that’s unusual, but for this entry level position no candidates were show stoppers and no candidates gave off any red flags.

  15. Allonge*

    LW1 – It might be helpful for you to think of it like this: what you have been doing was not helping Dan, it was performing a task to your employer. It was helpful for Dan, to be sure! But that is not what you agreed to do.

    The task by necessity should be of limited time – otherwise they should have asked you to stay on as a part time employee. There is nothing wrong wiht you expecting that the task would be finished by now! And certainly you are not obliged to work around Dan’s availability.

    If the issue is that there is too much work for this one position, that is for the company to solve. You have done what you were supposed to do! And now it’s time to leave. I would also very much like to have somebody doing half my job! Alas, no joy so far.

  16. Retail Not Retail*

    LW2 – I’ve sent thank you notes after every interview, even when I’ve had to look at employee directories or wing it based on the pattern of the emails I did have. (I did not send one for my retail job or my current one. I think.)

    At my last interview, I had to ask for business cards since none of the communication was with the 3 people interviewing me! This is the first time someone answered. I included a bit about my job’s covid response that mentioned a unique aspect of the job. (I was really banking on the weird place I work making me stand out.)

    I thought they were required! Also, when should you send them if you do send them?

    1. Beth Jacobs*

      I think you should send them within 24 hours of the interview. Decisions can be made quickly.

      1. Retail Not Retail*

        But is it too early to send it like fifteen minutes after the interview? This time I waited until my road trip back home ended which was about an hour before the end of their business day.

        1. WellRed*

          Yes, don’t send it from the parking lot. That makes it look generic and unthought out (even if it is perfunctory).

      2. Pink Dahlia*

        I once got home from interviewing an hour away to find an offer already on the answering machine, so no chance to send one at all. A nice problem to have, of course, but I did obsess a bit over whether to send one after the fact or not.

    2. Pigeon*

      I’ve never been given contact info for anyone except the individual managing the logistics of the hire (usually an HR employee). Not once. It feels very intrusive to me to dig up people’s contact information (or guess it!) for a thank you note. I have only recently started participating in hiring, but I would be very put off if I got an email at my work account from an individual who had no reason to have it.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Emails from business contacts (which is what an interviewee is) at your work email address aren’t normally considered intrusive; it’s a normal thing that happens.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        Your work email account belongs to your employer for work purposes. Interviewing is job-related, and being put off that someone emailed you at your work account about a work-related meeting is a bit odd and unfair to hold against a candidate, particularly when career centers or parents may coach them that they need to send a thank-you email. Most business email addresses are not that hard to divine. If you know the HR person, Jane Smith, is, it takes little digging or divining that your interviewer, Claire Adams, is Most people I know would consider this resourceful and not intrusive.

        1. SimplyTheBest*

          I don’t even know that most people would consider it resourceful. It’s like knowing that one plus one equals two.

    3. OP#2 - Notes*

      I definitely also see them as required, which I think is contributing to me wanting to include their absence in my thinking about which candidate(s) to recommend the most.

  17. Scarlet*

    OP#1 – sounds like Dan is overwhelmed with the new job and not confident he can do it. That stinks for him, but it’s not your problem. Go on and live your life and congrats on being cancer free! You’ve given your old employer and Dan so much more than most people would and at this point Dan is taking advantage of your kindness.

  18. Outside the box*

    LW#1 I switched jobs in the same organization and was getting questions 2 years later, I would answer (yes I know) and then that person would take my response or idea and use it as their own receiving praise and accolades for thinking outside the box. That really irritated me. Cut Dan off now, he’s not trying to learn, he wants everything handed to him.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I’ve typically said that former employers can ask me any questions for two months after I leave (which is quite generous, considering they aren’t paying me anything), but after that, I’m done. I leave plenty of documentation, so they can’t plausibly claim I left them in the lurch. And then they just have to deal… or hire me as a consultant for not cheap.

  19. Jennifer*

    Re: thank yous

    Seems to be a recurring theme. I get why saying thank you after an interview is a good idea. Just keep in mind that the job market is abysmal right now and people are stressed about either the threat of layoffs or dwindling unemployment benefits. It gets tiring sending thank you notes to people that are probably going to reject you. If I were you I’d chalk it up to burn out and leave it there.

  20. AnNina*

    For LW1.
    I agree with Alison about setting boundaries.
    Honestly, to me, it sounds like you are still being Dan’s trainer. I mean, at the moment, you are getting paid for training him (if I understood correctly). So, when communicating with him, I would keep in mind, that Dan might honestly be confused about your role. It’s still arrogant of him to make such a demand, of course!

  21. Pink Dahlia*

    #2 My company is notorious for clamping down our IT/email so tightly we can barely function. It stems from the dinosaurs in the C-suite who keep clicking things they shouldn’t. Rather than force them to get with the times, it’s apparently easier to just run a police state.

    All this to say: you don’t actually know that they aren’t sending thank yous, you only know that you aren’t receiving thank yous.

    1. BadWolf*

      I was thinking the same — it may be their email is getting flagged for outside SPAM.

      And since the OP wasn’t the primary interviewer (if I understood correctly), I wouldn’t expected a bunch of thank you. Plus, unless you emailed the people directly so they replied to you, I would be on the fence for them “mining” through a Zoom invitation to email people on the list.

  22. ThanksNoThanks*

    OP #2: I once had a job offer I turned down because the job called me to see why I didn’t send a thank you note before offering the position. That indicated to me a level of micromanaging which there had been other red flags for already.

    1. irene adler*

      Good move.

      I would have told them it must have gotten lost in the mail.

      But still, you made a wise move there.

    2. OP#2 - Notes*

      Oh yes, I do acknowledge that would be wildly out of line. This was more just wondering if I can consider the presence or absence of notes when trying to distinguish very similar candidates from each other.

      1. Dream Jobbed*

        I think if all things were equal they could be used as the tipping point, but I haven’t been on a job search where everything else was equal.

        You also have people who may not have been brought up writing thank you notes, and sometimes this may be because of socio-economic or cultural reasons. Do you really want to disqualify people who may already have a tougher road?

      2. Hmm*

        The most stellar employee I’ve ever had (he’s still working with us years later and still fantastic) sent a thank you note, so I probably would have a bias towards a future candidate who sends one.

  23. CupcakeCounter*

    Email the manager your cut off and availability and if they ignore it as well, block everyone starting Nov 1. You have been more than generous and should now be free to live your life as you see fit.

    I did a large panel interview for my current job and only emailed the hiring manager, his boss, and the person I would be replacing (internal promotion for them so I would be their backfill and still working closely with them) from the group of 8 I talked to. “Random person who works in the company but will have little to no involvement in my role” is not someone I am going to take the time to communicate with because it will only be generic “thanks for taking time out of your day” vs the more in depth conversation I could potentially have with those directly involved with the day to day, which is the point of the follow-up/thank you email. I didn’t email the HR rep who scheduled the Zoom call and after that was not at all involved. I had his email address but a “thanks for facilitating the Zoom call” is essentially junk mail at that point.

    1. OP#2 - Notes*

      Yes, for a giant panel I wouldn’t feel as much like the notes were expected. These were all one on one, 40 minutes interviews. I will have extensive involvement with the people in the roles (which I did make clear in the interviews) but I’m not in the department that is hiring.

  24. Dust Bunny*

    LW4: My brother and SIL used to be terrible about acknowledging mailed gifts (we don’t live in the same state). I finally started prodding them with inquiries about whether or not the gift arrived, or did I need to pester the vendor for an explanation/replacement. That seems to have embarrassed them enough to start sending thank-you emails. They have small kids now and I’m certain they won’t teach them to send thank-yous–my brother has this weird idea that wanting an acknowledgment is grubbing for praise, even though we were definitely raised to send thank-yous–so I expect to have to start over with the next generation.

  25. anon73*

    #1 – I agree with Alison, with one caveat. As she suggested, you should no longer engage with Dan. He’s being 100% unreasonable. I would email the manager and tell you’re no longer available after 10/31. Period. End of story. They are taking advantage of you (even if they’re paying you). It is not up to you to make sure your replacement is up to speed before you leave. It’s up to the company to cross train and be prepared for an employee’s departure. You need to but the cord, because the longer you allow them to guilt you into helping them, the longer they will take advantage. It’s time to take care of you.

  26. learnedthehardway*

    #3 – I would definitely say something to your friend. Her level of obsession with the other candidates is unhealthy. It’s probably distracting her from doing the job itself – perhaps it’s a reflection of her insecurity in the job, or perhaps she’s just the type of person to get passionately obsessed about a topic for awhile, but she’d do better to obsess about doing the job itself.

    You could remind her that whatever the qualifications of the other candidates, SHE was the person they hired, and they did so for good reasons.

    1. Bernice Clifton*

      It definitely has the vibe of looking up a boy/girlfriend’s past flames on social media. Which I am a little embarrassed to admit I have done, and I regretted it.

  27. Helen J*

    #2- I never knew thank-you notes were a thing until I was in my mid-twenties. I was looking for a new job and just happened to buy a book and it had a section on TY notes.

    #3- After I was hired for my current position, I had to send all my “competition” their rejection letters. It didn’t state the reason they were not hired and I didn’t ask. Perhaps the friend should focus on learning and doing her new position well instead of wondering why others didn’t receive the promotion.

  28. Harvey 6'3.5"*

    Or start charging consultant rates like $100, $200, or $300 an hour for your assistance (I would lean to a higher number here, personally, since you don’t want to participate). Then at least you’ll feel like you are getting something for your effort.

  29. DealCollector*

    I’m trying to prevent being in the same boat at LW#1. No one is really running the company I work at so a lot of duties not typical for my position have fallen to me. I finally resigned with one month’s notice, my last day is Nov 6th. Despite my advice they hire a person with regulatory compliance experience, they went with an internal person with no such experience. Given the job’s lack of benefits and leave, I wasn’t holding out hope that an external candidate would take the job. I already know the replacement and the owner will be calling me constantly. I’m going to suggest they hire a consultant to work on retainer for his questions as I am not willing to do it. Otherwise it will be like I never left. I won’t be surprised if I’ll eventually have to block their calls.

    1. irene adler*

      Yeah. Why should you have to pick up the slack for management’s ignoring your advice?

      Do you have the names/contact info for a couple of consultants- at the ready- that you can send in response to each request for help you receive? IF from the get-go this is the only info they receive from you, maybe that will get them to stop bugging you.

    2. Do it!*

      If you would be willing to help them for some fee (should be at least 3x what your salary is, and also something that would actually make you willing to put up with this / be worth it), have that figure in mind. When they start asking, tell them you will continue helping/training for $x/hr (or per day – whatever makes sense) – as an independent contractor (Remember, if you are in the USA and do it this way a large chunk will be taken out by taxes so factor this in when you come up with a number that would make this arrangement palatable, if that is possible)

    3. Generic Name*

      I suggest making it really inconvenient for them to reach you. As in never respond during business hours and don’t respond the same day. They’ll likely contact you in crisis mode with demands of last-minute help, so if it takes a few days to get back to them (you know how busy things are at new jobs), they’ll realize it’s actually easier to just figure things out for themselves. It may be wise to say as you leave that your consultancy fee is $300 an hour and if they want continued help they’ll need to sign a contract for year services.

    4. Artemesia*

      You will be much better off if you cut this off after two weeks at the most. If you are unwilling to be their consultant, then don’t be. It is gracious to answer a few questions for the first couple weeks along the lines of — I left the files in the right desk drawer or the password is mycat’sname. But then, it is ‘I am sorry but you will need to hire a compliance consultant as I cannot be available any longer as I take on my new duties ‘ Then stop responding. And for the two weeks — don’t take phone calls — check emails no more than once a day and respond the next day. But after two weeks be done.

  30. Jennifer*

    #1 I’m also getting a boss’s nephew vibe from Dan. The level of entitlement is staggering. Honestly, I’d reiterate that I’d be unavailable after 10/31 and then block him after that date. You’ve already gone well above and beyond what was required of you.

  31. Richard Hershberger*

    LW2: I think we have a basic misunderstanding of the function of job-search advice like “send a thank you note” or “have a good cover letter” or “have a well-formatted resume.” These only rarely have anything to do with the actual job. They are about being noticed (in a good way) so that the candidate’s actual qualifications will receive full attention. The first time someone thought to send a thank you note after an interview, the hope was that the recipient would squeal in delight and have warm fuzzies about that candidate. So far so good. But if the recipient based the actual hiring decision on this, rather than on something relevant, this was poor hiring practice. Move forward a few years, when the advice to send a thank you note is more widespread, and the temptation is to turn it into a box to be checked off. Resist this temptation. It has nothing to do with the candidate’s qualifications.

    Or consider resume formatting. Suppose you were reviewing a stack of resumes and came across one that was really badly formatted. But you look at it anyway, and it turns out this person is the ideal candidate. Would you toss the resume in the trash can, with wistful regret that you had to reject this ideal candidate? That would be insane. Even the weaker form of downgrading him based on formatting while not rejecting him outright would make no sense at all. On the flip side, yesterday we had a letter from someone who interviewed so well that they kept getting offers for jobs they weren’t qualified for. I can understand someone being dazzled by a great interview and losing their sense of judgment. But not someone who realized this candidate wasn’t qualified, but wanted to hire them anyway because of that great interview. That would be as insane as rejecting a candidate for having a poorly formatted resume.

    1. fposte*

      This is a point I have to make sometimes with staff that are new at hiring–that we look at applications as information to get the best hire and not goals in themselves. It’s not a “most elegant application” contest.

      1. irene adler*

        That makes me a little disappointed. Content over form-always, right?
        Form isn’t going to perform the job tasks.

    2. OP#2 - Notes*

      This is well said, but I slightly disagree. If there are two candidates with equal qualifications or abilities, would it be reasonable to prefer the candidate with the better resume? That’s essentially the situation I was asking about. I’m not suggesting you should only hire people who write thank you notes, but I am suggesting that – all other things being equal – a note (or good resume formatting or being polite to the HR team/receptionist or any other ‘minor’ differences) can make the slight difference to prefer one candidate more. This is the first interview process I’ve ever been a part of where I really can’t recommend any candidate over any other, normally it wouldn’t come down to this level of minutae.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Taking “better resume” to refer to the form rather than the content: If document layout has nothing to do with the job, however tenuous, why should you favor the better formatting? How would that be less arbitrary than having the two candidates run a hundred yard dash, hiring the one with the better time?

      2. ohmarshmello*

        That just puts the candidates in a “who is the most like me?” competition. Which of them was taught the same things as you about how to interview and job hunt is not really an objective standard to judge them by – it is just a handy way to get a very homogeneous employee pool.

        In the end, if you are comparing two equally qualified candidates, then neither of them has a ‘better’ resume, one of them just has a resume/interview style/thank you note standard that you like more.

      3. Workerbee*

        If two candidates have equal qualifications and/or abilities, I’d look for aptitude, accountability, willingness to learn things, excitement over the role, insight., etc., as additional qualifying factors. Politeness, yes! Resume style, never. It really is what’s inside that counts in this case. This works for the greenest intern to the most experienced careerist.

        1. Tiny Kong*

          Yes. I would be very surprised if two candidates were so completely equal in their accomplishments, skills, potential, personality, politeness, interest, etc. that you could start dinging them for resume format and thank you note content.

          Plus it sounds like OP doesn’t even have to make the final decision, just a recommendation. I don’t get why “they’re both great” is such a problem. What a fortunate situation to be in!

  32. BusyBee*

    This is something I’m curious about, tangentially related to #1: what do people mean when they say training and how often are you expected to get training? I’m in my 30s, work in marketing, and I don’t think I’ve ever had training related to my job. I’m always slightly mystified as to what people are talking about when they discuss training periods, like in Question 1. I’m familiar with the period when you’re new and ask a lot of question and are expected to be slightly bad at everything, but it sounds like some folks have a much more formal concept of training. I’ve always been curious about this.

    1. cosmicgorilla*

      @BusyBee, some jobs are more step-oriented and will need more formal training. Let’s say your job to some degree involves entering data in a software program, and you need to capture certain fields and in a certain order. The training would cover that. Or maybe you need to run reports, and report-running isn’t as simple as clicking a button. You need to combine a few different data sources, filter on this and that, upload here, distribute to these people but not those people… Training will teach you the step-by-step processes that need to happen.

    2. A Hermit before it was Cool*

      My department, our jobs are very process/step oriented. For new hires the training is all about teaching them how to use our systems (not just excel or word but company specific programs) and how to process an activity correctly. We stress to them that we want them to learn everything our way and have it down 100% before they start giving us any kind of process improvement ideas and that accuracy is far, far more important than speed. We have a 1 year training window where we train them up piece by piece. So a goal might be them learning “catch a llama for grooming” and then “catch the llama and groom it yourself”, etc.

    3. Jaybeetee*

      I’m the opposite – I’m mystified by people who *don’t* get training. Like, how do you learn the job? Every place I’ve ever worked, across multiple fields, had systems and processes and often databases and the like that no one would just be able to intuit – you need to be shown. Even when I worked in fast food, I was trained on making the food, how to run the cash register, how to cash out at the end of the night, and closing procedures. When I worked as a receptionist, I was trained on a standard greeting and terminology, how to use the switchboard, and any other duties assigned to the receptionist. In my current job – which was a bit short on training – I was still given an overview of project steps and how to use the computer programs. Every job I’ve had, there was stuff I had to be trained on. Even if I had experience with the work, I had to be trained on how the new place did things.

      I mean, how do you not get trained for a job? You just show up Day 1 and are given work?

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        I suspect that BusyBee was focussed on formal training, like in a special room with other new hires. I’m sure they’ve experienced the kind that you and other folks are talking about. If nothing else, at a new job, people “train” you on how to use the office (where to find supplies, what level of recycling this particular business performs, how to reach the help desk, etc).

      2. OyHiOh*

        Day 1 of NewJob was an on boarding conference with three other new hires and our boss.

        Day 2 was literally “good, you’re here, here’s five things you need to take care of.”

        NewJob is administrative/office manager role. There hasn’t been a person in my role for at least a year, probably longer based on some of what I’m rebuilding. There are no databases – I’m building them. There are no systems and processes (the org was down to an executive director and 2 part time contractors before this summer) – the ED and I are building them, or remodeling in some cases (there is an operations handbook and an employee handbook but both are woefully out of date). When I don’t know something or don’t know where to find something, I A) dig around in the resources I have at my disposal (an ever growing list; each one of these situations leads to resources to refer to later) B) ask my boss/ED, C) call up our contract bookkeeper and D) call the previous ED, who now works for the city we’re located in.

        “Training” consisted of “key to exterior door, key to your office door, here’s the IT guy’s number if you run into technical issues”

    4. JustaTech*

      I work in manufacturing and the sciences, so for my work “training” is a combination of “train you on the physical actions to do X task” “teach you how to use Y instrument” “teach you how to use Z software” and “show you examples of how we write reports so you know what it’s supposed to look like when you write your own”.

      For the physical tasks I usually train people by having them read the procedure and then go over it with them, then do it once, slowly, explaining every step while they watch, then have them practice with some dummy material, then have them do it with real material while I stand right there to offer suggestions/help, then when they’re comfortable they do it without me hovering.

      But we also have written procedures for pretty much everything except some software, which is really helpful for getting folks up to speed.

  33. Do it!*

    OP1 / trying to let go – I hope you were being paid by the hour for all the “Training” you’ve been doing since this place stopped paying you a salary! Effective immediately please charge at least 3x Dan’s salary for every hour of work / emails /etc you do helping him/train him; or stop entirely if even that’s not worth it.
    You worked crazy hard at this place for a decade and they’re paying your replacement more. You owe them nothing past the date they stopped officially employing you. They are trying to milk you for all the free/cheap labor they can; don’t let them.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      I just re-read the letter and I don’t see where Dan is getting more money than LW was?

  34. Anon for this*

    #3 – your situation hit a chord with me. I have a friend who works in a different field and has been job hunting for a while. Like your friend, they have landed a job, albeit not the best job. I learned only a few days ago from them that they’ve been obsessively checking up on the positions they were rejected for and then checking up on the credentials of the successful applicants. I have tried suggesting that this was not going to be productive on any level and that they should let this go. It did not go well.

    1. fposte*

      I’m really curious–did they give any justification? I’m a sucker for following a thread myself, but this seems so clearly unhealthy that I’m wondering how they framed it.

      1. Anon for this*

        Not really. Some of it seems to have started as dealing with companies and organizations that weren’t sending rejections which is appallingly common in some of the fields they were pursuing; this person didn’t want to keep contacting HR so they would look to see if a position was still open or if they had hired. My guess is that because it is so easy to look up people these days my friend just kept going down that path. But now it’s devolved. I’m hoping some of the commentariat have some language I can try using because I am really concerned for my friend.

        1. irene adler*

          I did this for a while. Especially when I felt I was a match but didn’t get hired. My motive was to see what skills the selected candidate had that got them the job. I hoped to find a way to acquire those skills to become a stronger candidate down the line.

          BUT ! It got me crazy seeing folks with way less skills, experience occupying the job I wanted.
          There really wasn’t anything concrete skill-wise I could acquire that might make me a stronger candidate (not that I could discern, anyways).

          I have also reached out to HR to ask about what I might do to become a stronger candidate. This has provided a better avenue for improvement (for me, at least). Yes, most times I am ignored. Once in a while I’ll get a response. Usually either something very tangible that I can use or the “not the right fit” response. Hate that “fit” stuff. But, I figure it’s on them, not me.

          End result: I don’t check up on who got the job any more. I do continue to ask for feedback. And, I put the tangible feedback to use (classes in Excel, Lean, SPC etc., for example).

    2. Dream Jobbed*

      I’ve done this for a job. Heartbroken over not getting one job, but I have to admit, once I saw the successful candidate’s resume I completely agreed with the decision. Very impressive.

      Fortunately, I got a great job in my dream location (much better location than the other, although I didn’t know it at the time) and it was totally worth the wait. Plus, I get to work with this person in state related tasks, and yes, she is still impressive. :)

      Most mostly I looked at successful applications to see what was missing in my experience and seek it out.

  35. Lady Heather*

    OP1, you switched jobs to decrease stress. Sufficient financial compensation can alleviate stress as well – someone to clean your house so you don’t have to spend time on that, not worrying about making ends meet or saving for retirement – and if that sounds like something that would be the case for you, you can consider just hiking up your fee.

    When calculating what you intend to ask per hour, think not only of the amount of time you actively spend helping Dan, but also of the amount you spend frustrated by him or stressed by him or thinking about him – work that into your fee. (If you spend two hours thinking about Dan for every hour you spend on Dan, and you’re willing to work for 40 an hour, charge 120 because he’s occupying three hours in your head.
    Then double or triple that amount just because you can and this situation is ridiculous.
    Oh, and have a ‘rush fee’ for when he urgently needs you, and a weekend fee for when he needs you on the weekend.

    Or just say “yeah, no” and walk away.

  36. Observer*

    #2 – Ask yourself WHY you expect a thank you, or even an acknowledgement? No one on the interview panel did the interviewee a favor. They did not even really do something FOR the interviewee, so the norm of a polite thank you doesn’t really apply here. And as someone who is explicitly “Outside of the department”, your presence has nothing to do with them really.

    So, yeah, you need to put this out of your mind. The only exception is if someone wrote a note that was exceptional, like something that shows that they really understand how your department would work with the department they are looking to join.

  37. Rayray*

    I know this will get buried and probably not seen BUT as for the Thank you notes, my perspective as someone who was unemployed for almost five months during this pandemic.

    I honestly meant to. I really did. I just kept getting this sort of brain fog and after a few days I’d suddenly remember but this often happened as I got the copy/paste rejection from donotreply. It’s a weird thing sometimes being unemployed and depressed. You know you should do these things but it can slip your mind when you’re trying to keep straight the dozens of applications you have pending. You get tons of generic rejections for jobs you were well qualified for and it’s demoralizing.

    Another thing, sometimes your interview is just bad. I had one that was really awful. It went on for almost two hours because I met with three people separately and did assessment quizzes. One guy was really a pompous jerk and I didn’t like it at all, so I was really hoping they simply wouldn’t offer it to me. That was why I didn’t follow up or thank them.

    1. irene adler*

      I think there are some folks who use the interview as a way to play mind games on people.
      I had one interview where I was asked what my definition of Quality was. I said “delighting the customer.”


      “Delighting the customer while meeting regulatory standards,” he said.
      (I thought this was my definition, not the usual definition drilled into us by reg folks. My bad. )

      Then he proceeded to embarrass me further with comments on most of my answers. He would comment “that’s not what I would have done.” Or “that doesn’t sound very ethical. I would have quit and found another job.” This was with a third person in the room- the hiring manager. Swell.

      Then I was presented with a schematic and asked questions about it. Note that the job had nothing pertaining to this kind of thing. I did fine but can’t help but think the actual test was other than interpreting the schematic.

      So, yeah, thanks for the humiliation.

    2. OP#2 - Notes*

      That is messed up Rayray! I definitely see why you wouldn’t send a note after that.
      … but now I’m very nervous that all the interviewees hated me and that’s why they didn’t send a note!

      1. Rayray*

        Oh I didn’t mean to put that fear into you!

        What happened to me is that he would ask a question and then just look at my resume – no eye contact with me – and go “Hmmmm” or “ Huh” or “Ok” and he was overall just rude and had zero people skills.

        So long as you ask good questions and can be polite, I really think you’re good. Eye contact is important too.

    3. Cassidy*

      Hard agree with Rayray.

      I was unemployed for nearly a year. Late 40s, living at home, advanced degree, working retail to keep creditors away, applied for nearly 100 professional positions in 9 months before landing one.

      Do you know what it’s like to be that age, with an advanced degree, but working a cash register, and to see your your next customer is a former high school classmate – the gossipy one with the big mouth? If only I could have fallen through the floor, many times.

      I was depressed, questioned my life decisions, and, while on the interview circuit, encountered some of the rudest people on the planet.

      Believe me – much of the time, a thank-you wasn’t deserved wasn’t deserved, and I doubt I lost any chance at a role for lack of sending them.

      1. I Feel Your Pain*

        I know how it feels to be working a job that someone from your past looks down on. I had been a college professor but was deeply in debt to financial abuse from my ex. I had to take temp jobs, and one had me working as a file clerk, the most junior temp position in the department where two of my former students had senior roles. We had not been close, and it felt absolutely humiliating to me.

  38. Workerbee*

    LW#1, add me to the mass of people saying to stop all help and contact immediately after sending a final Stopping Now email as outlined in a comment thread above.

    This may be unwarranted extrapolation, but I have serious side-eye toward your former manager and company for multiple reasons, including:
    —They seemed fine with you working at full speed during your entire cancer journey, to the point of expecting or even requiring it
    —Your former supervisor seems to have been on some if not many of the Dan emails yet hasn’t stepped in during these many long months to put an end to your handholding
    —Dan has a heck of a lot of entitlement and expectations that mean he’ll fit in well with your former supervisor and company
    —Dan is paid more with a better title, neither of which your supervisor or company thought you worthy of despite your evenings and weekends when you were actually employed with them
    —Evenings and weekends!!

    The blood, it boils on your behalf. I hope you find it within yourself to sever this disgusting arrangement today.

    1. Aster*

      This, so much this.

      LW#1, I say this as someone who has felt this way: sometimes we feel responsible for a former organization’s welfare even after we’ve left, be it a family or a workplace or whatnot. But we actually aren’t. You aren’t. You gave this company so much more than you were required to.

      Others have given you great advice which I agree with. I send you strength to stick to your decision if Dan and Former Manager push back and wail and complain. You are absolutely in the right to cut them off and reclaim your time. We’re cheering for you!

  39. AcadLibrarian*

    #2. I hate getting thank you notes. They have zero impact on my decisions as a hiring manager. And usually we batch all our interviews in over a few days, so we have the decision made the day after the last interview. I often get thank you notes after the decision is made.

  40. TC*

    Apropos of mostly nothing but reminded by OP2, when I was hired 10+ years ago, I sent thank you emails to everyone after my interview. I also sent a thank you card to my hiring manager once I was hired. About a year later I was checking my work mailbox, which we rarely used, and his was near mine so I brought him his mail. Which included my thank you card that had been sitting there a year. We both found it hysterical. :)

  41. SugarFree*

    #1 My boss has been the department head for nearly a year and a half. He still calls his predecessor frequently to discuss things (they worked together for 7 years before Predecessor left and Boss was promoted). We will have an issue and Boss will say “Oh, I’ll just call Predecessor”. I gently remind him that Predecessor hasn’t work their for X amount of time and that it’s weird to keep calling after such a long amount of time. It falls on deaf ears every time.

  42. mgguy*

    I’ve always sent interview thank-yous by email.

    For my current job, I had a pretty significant lag in the time between when I accepted the offer(and signed the formal offer letter) to when I actually began the job. Such is the nature of an academic position, as it was tied to the academic year.

    In any case, I was interviewed by a panel and of course sent thank you/follow up emails(per Alison’s advice) that evening(after having time to think but while it was still fresh). One person responded, and we traded a few additional emails with further information about the position and her also keeping me in the loop about where they were in the hiring process(I didn’t solicit, she volunteered).

    After I was hired, I started receiving emails on my personal account from one of my direct colleagues. I responded to every one them, about 3 over the course of two weeks, and about a week after the last one my cell phone rang one day. It was that colleague calling asking me if everything was okay since I hadn’t answered any of his emails. We figured out that apparently, for whatever reason, my Gmail address had been flagged, and none of my emails to him(not even my original thank you) had come through to him-not sent to the spam folder, but disappeared completely. We switched over to an icloud address I rarely use, and we could trade emails fine, but that was an issue that cmae up.

    Since starting work here, I’ve had SERIOUS issues with receiving emails from outside senders. This has been a big problem when students email me from personal(not school) email addresses, but also when trying to communicate with vendors. I’ve raised the issue with IT, and basically been told “Sorry, that’s how it is.”

    I say all of that for the sake of considering that a thank you may get caught up in your organization’s filters and not get to you.

    Also, if you’re looking for a mailed/hand written note, don’t forget that the mail has been terrifyingly slow recently, and that may well delay you getting one.

  43. Camellia*

    Anecdote for thank you notes: Back in the pre-internet days, a manager travelled to a different location (like a job fair, can’t remember exact details) to conduct interviews. On the trip home his briefcase containing the copies and information of all the people he had interviewed, was lost. He had no information on anyone he had interviewed. One person sent a thank-you note (this was in the days of snail mail) and, since that was the only one he knew, that was the one he hired.

    1. Artemesia*

      Love the story. And I don’t think of them as ‘thank you notes’ but as touching base after the interview with one last chance to make an impression. An ‘I enjoyed talking about X and would be excited to work on the X and Y we discussed.’

  44. Dream Jobbed*

    This will be an unpopular decision, but I don’t do thank you letters anymore. Every single time I did one I ended up not getting the job. Every job I ever had I did not write them for. At this point I am superstitious against them. May not be logical, but since I am in my dream job, and hopefully last job (just need to hold out 16 more years!) I am hopeful the question never comes up again. And nope, no thank you note for this job, although I have told some involved in the decision thank you on my first anniversary. :)

  45. J3*

    Is OP1 doing this work for free???? When people talk about appropriate helping-out after you leave a job, I feel like the extent of that is responding to something like “SO sorry to bother you, but we can’t find that file that has all of the data for our entire project– is there any chance you happen to still remember the name of the folder it was in?”

  46. MissDisplaced*

    #2 I find it harder to try and send thank you notes when it’s only been phone calls or Zoom calls for interviews. I used to always be very proactive about sending them, but in my interviews since the pandemic, I haven’t always been as good about it. I think it’s because sometimes more than one person and/or different people join the Zoom, and you don’t always have their contact info beyond maybe an email (if that).

    Perhaps that expectation will fall by the wayside in the remote video call age?

  47. sometimeswhy*

    OP2 – I’ve only ever received thank you notes from the least-qualified candidates. I don’t take that as an indication that only unqualified applicants send thank you notes. It’s just a smallish sample size correlation of anecdata. Nothing causal there. You shouldn’t take the lack of them as an indication that an otherwise good candidate is less-suitable than the interview and other hiring materials suggest.

  48. juliebulie*

    Re: #4
    I was supposed to get a 5-year anniversary gift at an old job years ago.

    Two months after my anniversary I called HR to ask if I should have received it by now. They said it had been sent to my manager five weeks ago, and that he was supposed to “present” it to me. When I asked him where it was, he said he had put off giving it to me because he didn’t feel like doing it, didn’t think that I deserved it. (He really didn’t like me, and once even told me so to my face, so this wasn’t a big shock.) He did give me the gift at that time, though.

    So, yeah, if you’re expecting some kind of award, it’s a good idea to check and make sure my old boss (or someone like him) hasn’t been sitting on it.

  49. dustycrown*

    #2 – I think lots of job candidates don’t send thank-you notes anymore because (right or wrong) they’ve developed the perception that there’s no one on the other end who would notice or care that the note was sent. That perception has been generated by their job-hunting experiences: You apply, but don’t hear back. Or you interview, but don’t hear back. Or you ask for a status update, but don’t hear back. So why would you take the time to send a thank-you note into a non-responsive abyss? (Not saying every company works this way. But I’ve worked with college students for many years, and in large part, this is how they describe the job-hunting experience.)

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*


      You can’t ghost candidates and wonder why you’re not getting thank yous unless you’re trying your hand at stand-up humor.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Being honest, every interview I’ve had in the last 10 years has been a panel interview. How do you address or decide who gets the thank you in a panel set up? It’s just anecdotal, not data collected scientifically, but I think the decline in thank you’s after interviewing is probably correlated with the rise in panel interviews.

  50. Esmeralda*

    OP#1: I’d bump my hourly charge for this too. Like, a lot. Desperate Dan sounds like a pain to work with, make that pain worth your while.

  51. Four lights*

    OP1, just want to add my voice that this is not normal, and you do not need to do anything for your former job anymore. It’s called “at-will” employment, and it wasn’t your will to work there anymore-so don’t! Nobody worth working for or with will blame you for doing this.

    Please print all these comments out and keep them by your computer to remind you to stop communicating with them.

  52. Esmeralda*

    OP #2: Yeah, I notice when candidates don’t send a thank you note. It doesn’t disqualify them, but I do think a little less of them.

    1. OP#2 - Notes*

      Yes, I think that’s exactly my feelings. If someone is great and doesn’t send a note, it won’t change my recommendation. But if someone is borderline and then does send a note, it could move them up a bit in my mind.

  53. Empress Matilda*

    OP1, one thing we haven’t really discussed is the impact on you, and on your current job. We’ve talked a bit about how much space Dan is taking up in your head, but what does it look like in your life?

    *Are you able to focus on your current job, and meet the expectations of your current supervisor?
    *You said you moved in order to be closer to your family – are you spending time with them as you were hoping? (Aside from Covid-related restrictions, of course!)
    *Do you have enough “down time” for hobbies or Netflix or whatever it is you enjoy?
    *Do you get enough sleep, exercise, water, healthy meals?

    You’re obviously very aware of the expectations of your former job. As Alison and others have said – this is not necessary, and in fact it’s pretty unusual for people to give so much for so long after they leave. The thing is, it’s not a bad thing under the right circumstances. If you were being adequately compensated for your time, and you enjoyed doing it, AND it wasn’t taking time from other priorities, it might be just fine! But you haven’t mentioned the old company paying you for this, you clearly don’t enjoy it, and I can’t imagine that other parts of your life aren’t being impacted.

    I don’t know any working adult who is able to meet all the expectations in their lives. Not you, not me, literally not anybody. At some point, we all have to make choices about what to prioritize. I’m sure you’re familiar with the “put the big rocks in first” analogy (it’s easily googled if you’re not). I don’t know what your particular “big rocks” are, but I bet they’re somewhere on the list above. The old job is not one of the big rocks, and yet it’s the one that’s making your jar overflow.

    I know it can be hard to resist expectations like this when you’re so used to meeting them! But it can be done. Best of luck to you, and please keep us posted.

  54. Lorraine*

    Re #2, I once didn’t get a job because I didn’t send a thank you note to – get this – A SURPRISE 7-PERSON PANEL INTERVIEW OF MY CO-WORKERS. I had sent a thank you after my first round interview with 2 interviewers, but the 7-person panel threw me so badly; it didn’t seem to make sense to send 7 thank you notes? Well, the idiot in charge of hiring hired the external candidate instead of me and made his assistant (!) do the rejection (!!). And she said that the lack of note was the reason he gave for not hiring me.
    But all’s well that ends well: he was fired just a few months later, and eight years later, that person is still in the same role, while I not only got a different (better fit) role, I’ve been promoted twice more. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  55. Raccoon*

    I can relate to the coworker in letter #3. I was one of two internal candidates for a promotion, and got the job, but I strongly feel that it should have gone to the other person. Even after six months, I keep thinking about how well they’d do the job compared to me, how much they’d enjoy it, how much goodwill they would have brought to the position, etc. I know it isn’t helpful, but whenever they speak in a meeting or get praised (which happens often), I get sucked into a spiral of shame and guilt.

    Everyone I tell this to keeps blaming “impostor syndrome”, and it infuriates me. It’s not a “syndrome” if your feelings are correct.

  56. mgguy*

    Again on #2-
    In some ways, I wish that the concept of thank you notes for an interview would go away(although it would be hard for me to not based both on “professional” norms I’ve learned and social conventions in the south with its own weird “oh my gosh they didn’t send a thank you note for x” gossip).

    The reason I say that is that as an applicant, you’re left not knowing what to do. Some folks say they won’t hire a candidate who doesn’t send one. Others say it seems like brown-nosing or whatever and will disqualify a candidate FOR sending one. Others say it’s not a huge factor in their decision, but could make a difference if trying to decide between two different candidates.

    As a job candidate, we have no idea of what we’re stepping into when we interview.

    Plus, there’s another angle to that in that candidates from cultures where a thank you note is not a normal thing to do, or from a background that’s never been taught “expectations” like this(whether in career classes like I took in high school, or from conventions passed down from those around them) would be placed at a disadvantage in hiring if a note or rather lack of is going to weigh heavily in the hiring process.

    1. lazy intellectual*

      Your last sentence is why hiring managers shouldn’t disqualify candidates for not sending a thank you note. It’s indirect discrimination – classism, in particular. But in the U.S., the default is to send one. I’ve never heard of an employer actively disqualifying a candidate for sending a thank you e-mail. If they do, they are highly unusual so it’s better to err on the side of sending one.

      Personally, if it weren’t for higher education and reading mainstream job search advice, it would not intuitively occur to me to send a thank you e-mail after an interview. I’ve sent thank you notes for gifts and favors others have done for me. Interviews are nowhere near the realm of gifts or favors. Someone meeting up for an informational interview is a favor because only I gain from it, but interviews are two-way streets.

  57. lazy intellectual*

    I notice there are two conflicting trends – candidates don’t commonly send thank you letters but hiring managers place a great deal of emphasis on them. I wonder why that is?

    Everything I learned from mainstream job searching advice is WRITE THANK YOU LETTERS OR KISS THE JOB GOODBYE.

    But it seems like a lot of people don’t write them. I hire interns and notice most of them don’t send thank you letters. I personally don’t care – I’ve hired interns who didn’t write then and it was fine, But I wonder if this is a dying trend that hiring managers haven’t caught up to or what?

    1. Observer*

      I suspect that job seekers will continue to not write these notes, and that not such great managers / hiring people will continue to ding people. Because sending a thank you for an interview is totally NOT a universal thing. But many hiring managers have a skewed perception of what the relationship here is – they forget that that an interview is not a favor to the interviewee.

  58. AnonPi*

    Re OP#1, I wish I’d put a stop to the questions much sooner than I did when I left for my current position (same company, different division). It’s been almost 5 years, and I just got an email last month asking to help someone do my previous job (like, for free, or charge to my current division, cause they weren’t going to pay for it!) I just didn’t reply to this last one. I feel bad for my former coworker, because they keep going to him, and he tells them he never did that job, that I did and gives them my email. Because I’m not helping they’re harassing him about it :( Ironically these people are the ones that used to sneer their noses down on me in my “lowly position”, professed to know everything about everything, and yet here they are still asking for my help. I was facing being laid off, and my middle manger told these people they’d be sorry if I left and practically begged them to keep me, but blew him and me off. I was still kind enough to write up full instructions and answered questions for months afterward, which now I realize I should have put a stop to after the first few weeks. Won’t make that mistake again.

  59. Tidewater 4-1009*

    #1, it sounds like your old job had unrealistic expectations. You met them by being very dedicated, working 24/7, and being awesome.
    Dan may be overwhelmed and unable to do the job by himself, but that is not your problem. They never should have expected you to work 24/7. If I’m right about this they will have to revise their expectations and management and have more realistic expectations for the job. Probably split it into two jobs, or reassign some of the responsibilities, or whatever.
    You’ve already done much more than enough, and you should reclaim your time and your life and let them deal with the problems they created. :)

  60. Op 4*

    This is such a low stakes update for #4, but I am happy to report that I copy/pasted Alison’s script in a message, and she responded right away! She had forgotten to send it. Glad I said something! Thanks Alison!

  61. jojo*

    LW1- so thet hires outside the company and are paying him more than they paid you. And 5 months in he still cannot do the job and expects you to do his job plus the new job you have been hired to. And he wants you available 24 hours a day to do his job. Plus on Saturday. Just no. You quit to get away from the stress and so you could devote more time to your family. Tell your old boss that if the new guy can’t do his job after 5 months it is time to let him go and hire someone that can. You cannot continue to work 60 hours per week.

  62. Teach them how to treat you*

    OP1, I’d let them know that I have reconsidered my position. In light of the 5 months of support and transition I have already provided, I’m not available to offer anymore support starting XX-XXX-XXXX date. . (Those jerks wouldn’t understand 3 pm boundary, if they have been abusing your time and taking advantage of you until now)

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