updates: the complaining coworkers, the awful boss, and more

Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. An update to a Friday good news letter (#4 at the link)

I went into my new position in part as a way of finding out if I wanted to go into management long-term. I learned very quickly that no, I do not, or at least not in these circumstances. I strongly dislike making decisions (and telling people what to do) in situations where I’m not completely confident in the right course of action, and I need more training materials and time than was available at the time. To complicate matters, there were some strong personalities at my new location, with some equally strong personality conflicts. Between the situation at that workplace, the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, and my best friend finally succumbing to a terminal illness just as I began the position, it was too much.

I thought I was doing all right for the first six weeks, but then I had a week off, and I lost all my momentum and couldn’t get it back. I could feel the impact on my mental and physical health, so I gave my notice. It was possible that if I hung on a bit longer, I would have found my groove, but I thought it was much more likely that I’d burn out completely before that happened.

So I’m finishing out a few months in this location, and then happily going back to my original position. My staff is sorry to see me go, so I was doing better than it felt to me at the time. But I’ve learned some things about management and about myself, and I think I’ve made things at least a little easier for the next person, so I don’t regret the decision.

2. My current and former coworkers keep complaining about my employer (#3 at the link)

To make a long story very short, the coworker I had at the time of my letter left – she finally decided that it was more worth it for her mental health to leave than try to stick out a year for her resume, which I fully understand and supported. I stayed friendly with everyone that has left, but have mostly avoided talking about work with all my former coworkers. Your advice for fully pivoting off was perfect.

Good news on my side – I got into grad school and I’m excited nonetheless for my future and so ready to escape the boredom of furlough.

3. Can I fix how my boss treats people?

In June 2019, I wrote to you about how my boss treats people like garbage and sent an update last December about ramping up my job search after a really embarrassing meeting. I’m happy to share that I’ve finally accepted a new position! It’s been a really long road and I was feeling very discouraged, but I kept going and it definitely paid off. My new position comes with a 20% pay increase and tons of great opportunities.

I also discovered one silver lining of having a jerk boss: I’m not second guessing my decision to leave at all. True to form, when I informed him of my resignation he said something along the lines of, “Okay, well, I guess that’s it then.” He hasn’t spoken to me since.

{ 23 comments… read them below }

  1. Lena Clare*

    Congrats on your new job LW3! Sometimes it takes something really embarrassing or awful to shake us up and notice how bad it is, then we can move on.

  2. Momma Bear*

    Re: jerk boss – I had one that basically refused to speak to me after my resignation and that cemented in my mind that I was doing the right thing/the relationship was not repairable. Congrats on getting a better job!

    1. dogmom*

      I unfortunately have a broken picker when it comes to workplaces and have been at some incredible toxic offices. Ten years ago, when I gave my manager my notice after working there for seven years, he not only didn’t speak to me for the entire rest of the week but then expedited my leaving with HR so he wouldn’t have to work with me anymore. I didn’t mind getting paid not to work for the last week of my notice, but that a-hole couldn’t even tell me to my face — he actually just left a message on my voicemail an hour before I was supposed to be in the office saying not to come back in and everybody needed to move on. And I’ve mentioned this before but last year, a month before I left my last toxic job, after telling a colleague I wouldn’t be there much longer she stopped speaking to me completely and only communicated via email when absolutely necessary, and once I left she and the GM sent an email to the entire client list trashing me and the GM personally sent an email to at least one client trashing me. You’re better off being out of that place, LW3!

      1. Artemesia*

        Wow. If I worked with someone without problem and then got that email I would drop that company like a hot potato. Even if it were true, trashing your employees is not a good look for a business — it makes them look bad.

        1. Selina Luna*

          Also, if it’s true (even if I worked with the person with no issues), why did they then keep this employee around? If someone is sooooo bad that you just have to completely trash them in an email, don’t bother. Just fire them.

          1. dogmom*

            @Artemesia and @SelinaLuna that GM is the most stunningly incompetent moron I’ve ever worked for. There was a very high rate of turnover at that place, and I was the third manager to leave in a six-week period, so I think the initial email got sent to the entire client list because he and the one manager who was left (the lady who stopped speaking to me) were panicked/angry. That email went out the day after I left and I was still on the distribution list so I got it, and my head totally exploded, but I wasn’t exactly going to respond so I just unsubscribed and hoped most of the clients realized the email said more about management than it did about me. The client who received the personal email from the GM forwarded it to me with a note saying “I thought you should know what they’re saying about you”; I ran into her a week or so later and mentioned I hadn’t read the email yet and she said “Actually you probably shouldn’t read it because it will just upset you.” As far as I’m aware they didn’t lose any clients but I think that’s because they’re the only business in the area for people who want what they offer. But yeah, if I were really that bad they had two and a half years to get rid of me, so …

      2. WorkerBee*

        The top manager and the awful place I left last year wouldn’t talk to me after I resigned. He addressed me only once during a Zoom call because he had to and it would have looked awful in front the of the whole team if he blew me off. It was unbelievable. He knew my manager was awful, that she was mistreating me and instead of putting her in her place, he turned on me for standing up to her. I had had a good rapport with him but for some reason, she meant the world to him. So, yes, I know the Silent Treatment quite well. Amazing that full-grown adults near retirement can’t step back and be professional.

        1. allathian*

          He was probably either having an affair with her or hoping to do so, is my guess. Or not, but I’m glad you got out of it.

    2. TimeTravlR*

      I will never understand a boss like that. Even if it’s an employee I am glad to see go, or at least not unhappy, it is to the company’s benefit to maintain a relationship, at least while they are still employed. But, I know, when the boss is that much of a jerk, nothing less is expected.

    3. Quickbeam*

      My first nursing job out of school worked me like a dog. I was the night shift charge and ended up stuck with every holiday for a couple of years. Year 4, I found out we were moving for my husband’s job and gave my notice…the first week in December. The boss had counted on me covering Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve and New Years Day. She came screraming out of her office yelling that I was ruining everyone’s holiday. Scut monkey no more!

    4. Foxgloves*

      I once had one who said “For f**** sake Foxgloves you’re leaving us in a really s****y position” when I told him I was leaving for a (much better) job. I just stared at him until he finally said something closer to “we’re sad for us, happy for you” but his reaction made my notice period feel reeeeally weird.

  3. High Score!*

    Thanks for the updates! It always makes me feel good to read good news! Congrats to all!!

  4. Wendy Darling*

    Oh the incredible lightness of your horrible boss never speaking to you again.

    I also quit a job because my boss was the worst, and she also just never talked to me again after I gave notice. I think she thought she was punishing me but she totally was not.

    Congrats, LW3, enjoy never having to deal with that person again!

    1. TimeTravlR*

      My husband once had a boss that, if he found out Husband was job searching, he would not let him travel until Boss got over his childish tantrum. Considering that travel was 40% of the job, usually, you can imagine that Husband wasn’t exactly heartbroken. (There was plenty of work to be done from the office too.)

  5. Hemingway*

    OP 3: Not work, but personally just got done this an awful divorce. For all of the terribleness, the one thing I never have to debate is if I should have stayed. No confusion, no guilt, no anything. Every single interaction was confirmation I absolutely made the best choice for me and also for my children.

  6. JelloStapler*

    Boy do I ever feel #1- I’m glad you did what you felt was right. You can also lead from where you are!

    1. daen*

      Thank you! (LW1 here) As it turned out, when I went back to the original position, there was one little addition to my job description. A small percentage of my hours was to be set aside for specialized duties I’d previously just assisted with. I figured I had four months to get up to speed. Then we got a grant.
      The grant was for stuff that came under that part of my job description, and we needed to hit some really ambitious deadlines. I started putting in eight times the number of hours I was supposed to put into that specialty.
      It’s being a bit insane, but I’m learning new skills fast, and I’m getting a lot of support. If it wasn’t for the deadline pressure, I’d be really enjoying it. As it is, I’m counting down to the final deadline and the end of the project, and I have vacation time booked once it’s all over.

  7. Stefanie*

    I resigned from a very toxic workplace nearly 6 years ago. Not only was I ignored once I handed my notice in but I was sat in the corner and the blinds were fixed shut in my corner. I ended up needing a lamp. He was a really strange bloke

  8. WorkerBee*

    I got away from a bad boss and the toxic culture that supported her a few months ago. It was not easy to leave at first because I had great coworkers and the work itself was right up my alley. It was a place I had hoped to stay at for a long time, but once leadership changed, that was pretty much it. Workplace toxicity starts from the top down. A bad leader– CEO, president, director– sets the tone for the entire office. He pretty much empowered the bad seeds in our organization to get comfortable, bully people, mess with funding and promote favoritism. I was very close to quitting a few times but stuck it out to build my resume. I took it as far as I could and when a good lateral move came up, I jumped ship.

    Prior to leaving, I did go through a period of thinking, well, just wait it out, turnover will happen, but it never did. Months later, the bad managers and head of the org are all still there. None of them moved out. Who knows if it’s because no one wants to hire them, or they’re all comfortable in the mess they made. It’s one of those places where someone with more power above all of them has to come in with a giant broom and clean house. It was so bad that even HR got caught up in the bad behavior. Sheesh.

    I no longer had the mental bandwidth to stay on. And, had I stayed on longer, I’d still be there dealing with their bullying and mismanagement.

  9. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #3 – the only thing I’ve ever seen in my career that “fixes” a horrendous boss is if one of his adult children, or his spouse, takes a job somewhere and gets the same treatment. And that person brings it on home to him. But you can’t expect for that to happen.

    Nor hope for it to. Better off moving on and just hold your nose until you’re out the door.

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