updates: mentor gives terrible advice, my husband keeps contacting my coworkers, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My mentor gives me terrible advice and berates me when I don’t follow it

Thanks again for your advice! The advice of you and your commentors validated that the situation I was going through was not normal, but I didn’t end up bringing it up to my supervisor. I spoke to someone in my company outside of my department who informally mentors me, and she suggested that I document the behavior, but focus my time with my supervisor on building a positive working relationship with him unless a crazy conversation with my mentor happens again.

Luckily for me, nothing too out of the ordinary has happened after that incident. My company has been going through a difficult time due to the pandemic, so my mentor became preoccupied with the state of the company and stopped reaching out to me outside of our scheduled mentoring sessions. Even during those sessions, he talked mostly about his thoughts on the company rather than trying to offer me his advice on how to get ahead (which was terrible!). Even though things have calmed down now, he still is much more hands-off than before for which I am grateful. I’m happy the situation worked out for the best, and I’m grateful to you and the community for helping me.

2. Telling friends at work I don’t want to talk about dieting

I don’t have a particularly interesting update to share since I haven’t seen much of any of my coworkers since March! We’ve been in the office, but far less and my in-the-office schedule hasn’t overlapped with Debbie’s or Sandra’s. We’re shifting to fully remote after Thanksgiving, so it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon. I did talk with Debbie since I do consider her a friend. She still talks about loathing her body and her relationship with food, but much less and since she’s otherwise been overall more pleasant to be around these past few months (she was house shopping and now she’s finally settled into her new home) I’m feeling less frustrated by the instances when it does happen.

On a completely unrelated note, I caught Sandra in a lie. Other coworkers have told me about Sandra’s not so great traits. One being that she lies to cover her own mistakes. I had never personally seen this since I don’t work with her a lot – until now! I suspect Sandra will be fodder for many letters to Ask A Manager for many years to come…

3. My husband keeps contacting my coworkers about funding his nonprofit (first update here)

I can’t believe it’s been a year since the last update. GUESS WHAT- I have some positive stuff to report.

Life has improved quite a bit since our last correspondence. I was pretty depressed this time last year. But thanks to C-19, my commute disappeared and I have 3 hours of every day back. This has made a huge difference in my well being and I’ve had a really productive year. Having a super supportive organization also helps- they have made it clear that no one will be expected to return to the office any time soon. Also, I finally made it through my HMO’s intake process and have been seeing my therapist since April. I can’t emphasize enough how important this was. Just having someone to tell me I’m not crazy and I’m not wrong, and gave me a LOT of insight into my husband. I now understand he has an addictive personality which manifests partially in obsessive behaviors, intrusive thoughts and secretiveness. He also has trouble empathizing with others because he has no empathy for himself, which explains his challenges in comprehending my side of this nightmare. We have probably had 10-15 conversations over the course of the year about how this affected me and we are working to rebuild trust.
Re the nonprofit, my husband received the exact same response from the several other agencies he approached as he did from mine – a bunch of no’s. Despite this he is thinking about restructuring the program, but he admits that his vision was not achievable and is not considering the nonprofit his primary focus. Not only that, but he is focusing on other work. His depression is still not “better” but we continue to cycle through the meds hoping something works.

I’m still working through the emotional fallout of the past year, but I’m in a better place than I was.

4. My coworker posts awful things on Facebook (#2 at the link)

This situation, oddly, resolved itself. I decided to wait until school was back in session so I could speak to someone above us face to face without a paper trail. On my second day of my summer job, I missed a call from that supervisor asking me to sit in on an interview for this coworker’s replacement. I guess she left our workplace to peddle her multi-level marketing scheme full-time.

I’ve been asked to take on her team lead role, but I’m not sure if I will as I will have to work my summer job through the rest of the year to make ends meet.

{ 7 comments… read them below }

  1. Jaybeetee*

    LW3, I’m glad so many things are improving for you! As for your husband – mindful that you have not asked for relationship advice – I’ll say I hope he’s worth it.

  2. Daffy Duck*

    L3 – Good for you on taking care of your mental and physical health. Keep it up! It is difficult to have a spouse with issues, hopefully, he will find meds and a lifestyle that help him.

  3. Caring for the caretaker*

    LW#3, I hope things continue to get better for you and that you are getting the support you need. You sound like a kind person who works hard to be understanding of his issues. Formulating his problem as originating in his lack of empathy for himself sets both of you up to focus on nurture and empathy for him. If both of your energies are orbiting around his emotional needs, always feeding inward to him, and the problem is his inability to return that empathy . . . well, you can do the math. Please take care, we are all rooting for you!

  4. Effulgency*

    I am shocked, just shocked, I tell you, that LW#4’s conspiracy theory spouting coworker is also shilling MLMs. Shocked.

    Good riddance!

    1. Scott*

      Somehow, going from spewing hateful conspiracy theories to quitting your full-time job for an MLM just seems wildly appropriate.

  5. Uranus Wars*

    LW#1 I remember your original letter. I am glad things have changed with your mentor (and that you are no longer taking a break to cry after every meeting!!!) BUT I also was hoping that your management would do something about the issues with John and his insane and inappropriate life advice…at a minimum stop allowing him to oversee interns!

  6. OhBehave*

    LW3 I am so glad you are able to see a therapist now. It’s so important to practice this self care when your mate has an illness like this. Finding the right med is worth the time. Neither of you can truly understand what the other is going through. It’s encouraging to hear your spouse say what he did about his idea.

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