it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news, with more accounts of success even in this weird time.

1. I’ve been reading your blog for over 5 years, it’s helped me out SO much in my journey from finding my first internship to navigating my early career.

Not long after WFH started due to the pandemic, I realized that the chaotic culture of my job was being masked by how much I liked a couple of my coworkers, so I started looking. When my Director (the manipulative headwater of an incredibly toxic river) found out I was looking, she threatened to have me blacklisted in our niche industry as she sits on the Board of our professional organization.

I didn’t want her shadow cast over my next job so I decided to try applying for roles in different industries that leveraged the same skillset. All of your cover letter advice was incredibly important in showing employers how my transferable skills would apply to the role, and the unique perspective I could bring! After I got my first offer, I even used your blog to negotiate even though I was desperate to escape.

My new job has turned out to be a wonderful counterbalance to all the negative behaviours at my last one – my manager has set up a clear succession plan for promotion, members of senior management have gone out of their way to provide feedback and support (even though I am at a fairly junior level and they manage dozens of staff members!), and work-life balance isn’t just given lip service.

As a first-generation immigrant, it was really hard to figure out work culture without having parents or older family members to go to, and your blog has filled that gap in my journey so many times. Thank you so much for all the time you put into sharing the resources that you do, and in an effort to pay it back, I’ve started participating in mentorship programs for PoC and disadvantaged youth in my community.

2. Five years ago, my husband took a new job in a community 5 hours away from what was to be our “forever home”. Our plan was to sell the house and make the move permanent, but…life happened and the market tanked. With our adult children under-employed or still in post-secondary, we left them to mind the house and we relocated. (We like to say “The kids grew up so we left home!”)

Fast forward to now. I’ve got a great job with the same organization and my boss is hugely supportive of my skill development. I love the challenge and the responsibility along with the strong team I work with. The only fly in the ointment is that our “forever home” is still sitting there and I’m way over here. (Which also means we’re paying both rent and mortgage!)

Earlier this month, I applied to a job “back home” that would have let us move back and offered lots of opportunity for job growth. I crafted an “AAM style” customized cover letter and changed my resume to focus on accomplishments instead of tasks. The interview went well and I was positive about the whole process.

I didn’t get the job.

But, this is good news, right? My boss was super supportive of the whole process, was willing to give me a kickass reference and completely understood why it made personal and economic sense for me (us, because he’d lose my husband too) to move. When he heard I was thinking of leaving, he asked what it would take to get me to stay. I was honest about the effect of the extra housing on our budget and that there’s no room for me to grow in the organization.

Boss looked up the job posting and realized it was a much more accurate reflection of the work I actually do than what’s in my current job description. He also saw how I was maxed out in terms of advancement in the organization if I stayed in my current role.

Instead, he and I rewrote my job description and he took my case to the evaluation committee. They established a new role (which will outlive my tenure, so the organization will benefit in the long term) and assessed my contribution several steps higher on the salary grid.

Today my title bump and 20% raise were made official!

I’ve learned a lot from AAM and refer people here all the time and I’ve used the language and suggestions here in many, many situations. 2020 was, to be honest, a terrible year for me and the verdict is still out on 2021, but this is a huge bright spot.

3. I’ve been freelancing as a translator since shortly before the pandemic started – at first I was doing well, but over time Covid affected me more and more, until I wasn’t really covering my expenses. I started applying to go back to FT jobs even though that wasn’t what I wanted to do. Honestly I had stopped reading the Friday Good News because it was bumming me out that I wasn’t making progress. But! I just got a part-time job that uses my language skills in a new way, and should make a huge difference in my bottom line – without me having to completely give up on my goals. I even used your negotiating techniques to get the hours I needed! Just want to say to anyone else in my boat: hang in there.

4. Back in January 2020 I was working in a very prestigious but very demanding job that I thought would be my “dream job”. It was tough but managable and I was doing everything in my power to make this job work out for me, even though it was one of the most toxic environments I’ve ever been in. My boss was an older British man who looked down on me for being a young American woman and punished me in a million small ways for not being the British “lad” he had wanted to hire for my position. The rest of the office was just as bad for various other reasons (including a coworker who would frequently tell stories about his time in various Thai brothels) and I was so desperate for people to like me that at one point in Febuary I resorted to bringing in muffins for the office (which unsurprisingly went totally unappreciated and turned into yet another thing I was critized for by my coworkers). Throughout January and Febuary I kept telling myself that it couldn’t get any worse and that it could only get better for me… and then the pandemic hit.

We went to working from home and the toxic environment only got worse. My boss went from a strict “No work communications on the weekends” policy to demanding I answer questions at 11PM on a Saturday because “You have the time to do this”. The toxic coworker who hated me started sending screenshots of everything I said to the grandboss and “accidentally” cc’ing me on it. During this time I started job hunting like it was my fulltime job. I spent about 2-3 hours everyday job hunting and becoming more and more depressed at my prospects. We went back to the office in May despite government regulations technically not allowing it and after two weeks of being back my boss ended up getting so drunk at a department function that he snapped into a rage, pinned me to the wall with his forearm, and screamed in my face that he “hated” me and “hated he had to stoop so low as to hire an American” and a whole bunch of other horrible stuff not worth repeating.

What I didn’t tell him at the time was that I had received a job offer only 24 hours before from a new organization far far away from these people in a totally different country. I quit as soon as I safely could (I had to wait a few weeks until my boss was out of the office for a few days. I didn’t want to risk being pinned to the wall again.) and left for my new job ASAP with my husband and two cats in tow. After I left I blocked everyone from that awful place, deleted that job from my resume, linkedin, etc. and closed the door on that chapter of my life forever.

As of today, I have been in my new job for about six months and I really like it here. Everyone is nice to me and I am judged on the quality of my work and ideas, not on my gender or nationality. My department even likes it when I bring in baked goods! I am adjusting to the new country as best I can (I moved continents so it’s a very different way of life than I am used to) and my cats love the house my employer has provided me (We went from a one bedroom city apartment to a three bedroom house with a yard and vegtable garden). My husband is doing well in his new job and has been told by managment that they want him to apply for a slight promotion in his department that would come with a small bump in pay and responsibilities. There is still a lot I need to work through in terms of healing from the toxic hellscape that was my last job but I have adopted the policy of “the best revenge is living well” and so far that’s been working for me. I also credit your blog with helping me get through the lows of job hunting so thanks for all the help, even if I never sent in a question directly.

5. I’ve been in a toxic job situation for seven years. It just about broke me, professionally and personally. I stayed for a myriad of reasons, none of them worth what I endured. I did some halfass job hunting for a couple of years but it left me feeling so broken and exhausted that I just avoided it.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to study your website and books like I was preparing to take the SAT again. I read, made notes, highlighted. I revamped my cover letter and my resume. I learned how to do better in interviews. I was contacted about a job that seemed like a perfect fit. I have NEVER felt so great after an interview. I have never connected with a hiring manager in such a strong way. I retained my professionalism but really tried to be authentic. I approached it as if the company was selling to me too because they are. I was very honest about my expectations and non-negotiables.

I was offered the job the next week. I’d named a number for my salary in the initial interview. My manager told me that she couldn’t offer me that. She wanted to offer me more! I was floored. This is something I thought only happened to other people. One of my major concerns about my previous job was the way they handled COVID. I also love working from home. This is something that is now permanent for me. My manager is communicative, kind and has already started calling me a rock star. I am so happy. Thanks to you and your commentators for helping me. I think my life will be very different now. I have a lot of work to do with shaking off trauma from my last job. I keep waiting to be abused, disrespected or taken advantage of and I just don’t think it is going to happen. I will continue to work with my therapist to shake off the gaslighting and abuse I’ve dealt with, but I am feeling great about this change.

{ 76 comments… read them below }

  1. Purple Cat*

    Wow. LW#4 especially. I can’t believe you had to endure so much abuse at work and I’m so glad you were able to get out.

    1. Tracey*

      I am so glad for LW#4 but at the sane time I would have documented the abuse and gone to HR – that whole situation and then the drunker assault sounds horrible!

      1. Dream Jobbed*

        I agree, but we don’t know if this was in a country that would care about such things (grounds for a lawsuit in America, but elsewhere?), or would back the employee in any way. Might make things worse. And toxic places often start with toxic HRs. However, if America I would hire a lawyer now, and if not enough evidence for that, I would be blanketing the Internet with warnings.

        I am so sorry you went through that. I hope the new job heals some of the wounds.

        1. Sara without an H*

          Yes, depending on the country and the company, there’s no real guarantee that HR (or anybody else) would have backed her up. Getting out was the right choice.

    2. Tyche*

      Yes that for sure warranted straight up walking out honestly. I hope LW learns that they never have to return to a workplace where someone physically and verbally abuses you.

      1. Working Hypothesis*

        I was particularly concerned about the staying a few extra weeks until she could find a “safe” time to quit. Everyone, if you’re physically assaulted by your manager, wait until the first moment you can safely get yourself out of the building and then quit from your own home, by email, so that you never have to go anywhere near that boss again!! You should never have to walk in one more day after something like that, ever.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, if ever there was a good reason to quit without notice, getting assaulted by your boss would be it.

  2. Frozen Banana*

    I’m so elated for all of the contributors who left the toxic companies and work environments. Yay for them and a huge loss for the companies that missed out on incredible talent.

    Sometimes I think about all of the jobs I had in the past and how hard I tried to make them work out, and how little that effort was ever appreciated. It can really take many months if not years to get over something like that and it’s hard to let go of the resentment and the realization that you were mistreated and taken advantage of.

    So grateful for this blog and everyone who offers their guidance and advice. Have a good weekend all!

    1. Sara without an H*

      Sometimes I think about all of the jobs I had in the past and how hard I tried to make them work out, and how little that effort was ever appreciated.

      When I was young, I had a couple of Jobs-From-Hades. I think young people, especially, often assume that if they try hard enough, they can win awful people over. Anybody who reads AAM regularly knows that isn’t true.

      My congratulations to all today’s letter writers, and here’s to happier futures for you all.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      Good Boss to summer intern: Texan used to get so nervous every time I called her into my office.

      Me: My old job was horrible. The only time my boss talked to me was to chew me out. But Good Boss is not like that!

      Good Boss: It took her a long time to adjust! She doesn’t get nervous anymore.

      Intern: You were like a rescue dog who had been abused!

      Me: Exactly.

  3. Pants*

    Wait– the boss pinned you to a wall???? Please, please, pleeeease tell me someone stepped in? (Unfortunately, I doubt it.) Not in America, correct? I imagine you’d be retired if this were in America from the settlement money. Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine. I’m so so so so sorry you had to go through this!!

    But I’m VERY happy you’ve gotten the greatness you deserve!

    1. Kes*

      Right?? Someone desperately needs to be reported to HR and/or the police for assault. That guy should be fired and he definitely shouldn’t be managing anyone.

      But I am very happy that at least the OP was able to get out of there ASAP

    2. Anthony J Crowley*

      I know right?! The fact that presumably other people saw this and no one called the police or intervened is horrifying. Even if I was there and too scared to act in the moment I would check in with whoever it was later and offer to be a witness if they went to the police.

      I’m so glad you escaped, OP4

  4. D*

    More and more it’s really upsetting to me how many people are apparently coming away with ptsd from BEING EMPLOYED. like that’s… Scary. What the heck has gone so wrong with culture in general (clearly not limited to any one country!) where the odds of you being mentally or verbally (or physically???) abused by your actual company are higher than zero.

    I’m incredibly thankful that the worst I’ve ever had was a sports retail job with a manager who acted like she was the queen bee of 7th grade (including being smugly pleased that she made one of the floor workers cry) and the owner who would ask us to do mildly unethical things like steal the flat rate shipping boxes from the post office for his online orders. Oh and he made me run his personal eBay account selling old product he’d found in a storage closet. Downright mild in comparison!

    1. Le Sigh*

      Accidentally posted this as its own comment when trying to reply!

      I don’t think anything has really “gone wrong.” I can’t speak to other countries, but the U.S. has a pretty long and ugly history with worker abuse, and those are just the ones we know about (e.g., violent attacks on striking workers at the turn of the century, egregious disregard for safety resulting in awful fires or mines blowing up). Unions exist for a reason. And I have women relatives and gay friends who have some pretty ugly stories of how they were treated by their coworkers or bosses — yelling, constant gendered insults that wear you down, constant harassments that no one addresses, even actual physical assault — going back decades.

      I can’t speak statistically to whether physical or verbal abuse has increased or decreased, but I do think you see over time a rise and fall of workers speaking up and demanding better. Of being more open about these problems and tolerating it less. But also employers successfully suppressing it as well. I think unfortunately it’s incredibly common.

      1. Danish*

        Sigh, yeah. I suppose “gone wrong” does imply there was a time when it was going better. I am both gay and (physically) female, and am fortunate that anything I’ve ever faced has been very mild. Just, in my heart of hearts where I want life to be just and fair, it rankles me to think that among job considerations like “can I pay my bills” and “what’s the health insurance like” you might also have to factor in potential actual abuse.

        1. Le Sigh*

          I feel you. And agree with your post. Apologies for coming off as preachy. I think my radar is oversensitive to even a whiff of “kids today” vibes, mostly because it makes me want to yell, “you suck too! and the people before you sucked! everyone sucks! we all suck! and when you try to paper over that, you’re only making things worse!”

          1. Danish*

            Ha! That’s a legit reaction. I am also one of those dang millennials apparently ruining all the traditional industries so I also agree with occasionally wanting to yell THE KIDS TODAY ARE FINE. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT. LEAVE THE KIDS ALONE

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              I’m the parent of three teenagers/ young adults. Honestly, a lot of the time, the kids I see — not just my own, but the generation all around them — are my best hope that maybe, somehow, we might have a chance to make things better.

      2. TheLayeredOne*

        This is great background to keep in mind. I think it’s also the anti-social welfare political culture in America that really contributes to this problem. The social safety net is woefully inadequate, our healthcare system is broken, we have no childcare system, etc. A staggering number of working people are one missed paycheck away from homelessness, hunger, medical crisis, or other poverty-related issues. If your job is the only thing giving you (and your family) life stability, you’re functionally trapped in that toxic environment until you can gather the wherewithal to look for a new job and hopefully get one.

      3. Cedrus Libani*

        Agreed. I’ve heard stories from my grandparents’ generation (so around a century ago) of stuff that was normal then, but that my Boomer-age parents would never have put up with…and stories from Boomers that my fellow Millennials would never have put up with…and heck, I have stories from my 20s that current 20-somethings would never put up with either. Things are getting better, standards are going up, accountability is becoming easier. In part, that’s because the injured party can let the whole world know about it – so the whole world knows, and it feels like it’s everywhere and getting worse, but in reality it’s getting better.

    2. drsunsets*

      It is, unfortunately, common in academia. A tenured superstar principal investigator (PI) who brings in the grant money can basically do anything he/she wants. Add in a bunch of powerless lab workers who are often there on a visa dependent on said PI, and it’s a recipe for hell.

      I worked for such a beast. He wasn’t physically abusive (that was a bridge too far) but he could gaslight with the best of them. I’m not stupid, and I am well-trained in my specialty (with multiple first-author publications), but that guy had me feeling like I had the intellect of an earthworm after about a year of working there. He loved to have “project meetings” where he would pontificate for hours about his super theory and if you tried to point out an obvious flaw in his reasoning, he would just change the goalposts and you’d go round and round again. With multiple smoke breaks outside where we would have to stand there and listen some more.

      One time I stood up to him on something, I think it was the way he wanted to present data in a figure in a paper we were preparing. He wanted to fudge it. I said no. I had good arguments and refused to do it. I knew he lost when he stormed into my office and said he was going to do it anyway because I “was too stupid to understand his argument”. The paper never got published because he then accused me of falsifying data (probably realized that I was right all along).

      The worst part was, even when I managed to get some grant funding on my own and get out from under his thumb, I couldn’t get any real support from my supposed mentors in the department. My chair even told me I should go back to the hell lab. Hell no.

      After being told “your teaching is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills”, I started job hunting. Now I live on a magical tiny Caribbean island and teach full time.

      I have no complaints. But now that I have more time and less stress, I feel like I could be writing reviews and book chapters and stuff, but I honestly think that I have writer’s PTSD from all of that.

    1. There’s probably a cat meme to describe it*

      I’m wishing many things upon him, and being arrested is the kindest.

      OP doesn’t indicate that she even considered filing a criminal complaint after the assault. It breaks my heart to think of the intensity of abuse she must have withstood and normalised working for that lout. I’m so glad she escaped.

  5. SentientAmoeba*

    LW4’s story is especially horrifying. I am so glad you were able to get away from this boss who physically attacked you because he didn’t like that you were a female American. That place is a level of toxic that is above and beyond.

    Hugs and congratulations to all of you who have moved up to bigger and better things.

  6. Bookworm*

    Thanks to all the LWs. Also sending a little extra sympathy to LW4: that is simply horrible and I’m glad you got away.

  7. Dream Jobbed*

    “(the manipulative headwater of an incredibly toxic river)”

    Why this blog makes my days so much better!

    1. EPLawyer*

      I died at that one. Rolling on the floor laughing.

      Until I got to 4. Holy Assault Batman. that was wrong on so many levels. How did you not look him straight in the eye while pinned and say “Well guess your day is made, I quit” I do not know. Then I would have gone to the police and have him arrested for assault. I was really hoping the story ended with him being fired for the behavior. But at least you got the heck out of there OP.

      1. Dream Jobbed*

        Yeah, I saw 4 after posting this.

        I know me – the first time this happened I’d be in too much shock to react.

        The second time? Well, I have my dad’s temper for a reason, and he’d be singing soprano. (But it’s always so much easier to be fierce when you know to expect it.)

  8. Le Sigh*

    I don’t think anything has really “gone wrong.” I can’t speak to other countries, but the U.S. has a pretty long and ugly history with worker abuse, and those are just the ones we know about (e.g., violent attacks on striking workers at the turn of the century, egregious disregard for safety resulting in awful fires or mines blowing up). Unions exist for a reason. And I have women relatives and gay friends who have some pretty ugly stories of how they were treated by their coworkers or bosses — yelling, constant gendered insults that wear you down, constant harassments that no one addresses, even actual physical assault — going back decades.

    I can’t speak statistically to whether physical or verbal abuse has increased or decreased, but I do think you see over time a rise and fall of workers speaking up and demanding better. Of being more open about these problems and tolerating it less. But also employers successfully suppressing it as well. I think unfortunately it’s incredibly common.

  9. Dave*

    OP #4, if I were your husband, I’d pay your old boss a visit and teach him some manners.

    1. Casey*

      Hey Dave, I’m sure you meant this as a way to express your sympathy to LW4, but I just want to note that if I was in her shoes, this wouldn’t make me feel better. The phrasing suggests that a) it’s ever acceptable to make threats or physically intimidate others in a professional setting, and b) men should only stick up for women they’re romantically involved with.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        and c) that women can’t handle this kind of thing on their own, according to their own wishes.

      2. Dream Jobbed*

        I agree – IF the female wants that.

        I’d be unable to react the first, but the second time might put him in the hospital. So I don’t need a man coming to my rescue. But if I were tiny and just way too nice, having support of a loved one or a good friend (I’d have no problem threatening someone with retaliation if they hurt my friend again, in fact have done it, and my whispers can be scary), can be helpful. It’s not a bad idea for predators and abusers to remember very very people don’t have someone that would protect them. But the idea that all women need a protector, nah. Sometimes we just need to know what’s coming and be mentally ready to call on an inner core of sheer rage. :)

        I.e. I was attacked once on the street and ran the guy down who was panicked by that time. But I had practiced that scenario in my mind a lot and it wasn’t a surprise. But a boss, even a verbally abusive one, suddenly getting physical, would not be something I’d have practiced. I’d just try to get through and the fear, the anger would come later.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Thank you! I came here to comment that as well. I’ve never heard the phrase before.

      The best I can think of is that a) it’s a first-generation American who is an employee in the US or b) it’s the first time someone in OP’s family is an employee but I don’t know.

    2. Hen in a Windstorm*

      I assumed a word got left out – maybe first generation office/professional/white collar employee?

      1. Sara without an H*

        That was my assumption. We’ve had letters in the past from people who were the first in their families to go from blue collar to white collar jobs and were looking for advice on making the transition.

        I work in higher ed, for a place that’s very proud of their track record with first generation university students. It is NOT an easy transition.

    3. Techie area*

      I assumed someone whose parents farmed or ran their own business. Or else someone who (due to foster care or similar situations) just didn’t/doesn’t have adult family members they could look to as examples.

    4. Ana Gram*

      I assumed it meant no one in the generations before had worked and just received disability. I went to college in West Virginia and it was a relatively common thing that students were both the first in their family to attend college (me!) and to plan to work. It’s interesting the different assumptions we each made. I hope the OP clarifies.

      1. ShinyPenny*

        Thanks for clarifying– and I am so applauding for you!
        Way to take back your power!

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        Ha! That makes so much more sense now.

        Congrats on everything and good luck :D

  10. Message in a Bottle*

    Way to go, OPs! I mentally cheered for each of you!

    #1 – What a heartwarming story! It’s big success considering you didn’t have family to ask about it. But you had this place!

    #4 – He laid hands on you?! That’s assault. I am so sorry you had to put up with that abuse at all.

    I also temped at a place once where I brought in homemade banana bread. It went completely untouched. A full-time position opened up there six years later. I would never apply there. Other than the people I reported to I was completely invisible.

    Yay, leaving toxic jobs!

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      So happy for #1, so appalled and happy for #4, and a huge YAY! for everyone!
      Thank you to those who send in happy news!

      And to the commentator who talked about having PTSD from being employed, I agree, it is so messed up!

  11. LW4*

    Hi all, LW4 here.

    Thank you all so much for your support. I was honestly a little scared of what people might say when I sent in this update. The internet is a harsh place after all.

    To answer some questions: No, this did not happen in America and no, unfortunately no one stepped in. This happened in the atrium of a public mall but all of my coworkers had left the department function already when he did this. The only people around at that point were the mall employees who mostly ran away from this clearly unhinged drunk guy.

    Honestly, the actual assault itself didn’t hurt as much as some of the other things he said to me (which are not worth repeating). I walked away without a scratch on me but I was deeply wounded by what happened. Afterwards, I went home and cried to my husband about it and he said something that really stuck with me:

    “Honey, this man has given you a gift. You no longer have to care about anything he says because clearly he’s a crazy person. His words mean nothing.”

    I kept that in mind the day I emailed him my resignation. It was one of the happiest days of my life but also very scary for me. As you can imagine, he did not take it well and ended up receiving a lot of vicious backlash and hatemail from him and his lackeys even months after I left (Apparently it was nearly impossible to replace me and they were all super sour about it). At that point though, I just laughed and blocked them all. There’s nothing they can do to me anymore. I have taken this job off of my resume and blocked all of them on every social media platform I can think of.

    My new job isn’t perfect but no one has told me that they hate me for my gender or nationality or made fun of my baked goods. Shockingly enough, this is a sane work environment where people actually like it when I do stuff like that!

    Once again, thank you all so much for your support. I’ve read all your comment and I honestly did not expect such kind words from the commentariat.

    1. Momma Bear*

      I’m glad your husband had your back. Women are too often trained to put up with nonsense and it’s empowering to draw the line with someone like that. I hope you never deal with him again.

    2. Dream Jobbed*

      Good for you!

      Love picturing you laughing as you delete their stupidity from your computer and your life!

    3. Boof*

      You got through and got out! That is amazing.
      Not sure what worker protections are out there, but if there are any, now that you are gone and safe, I hope you consider reporting this to some kind of authority above him. I do understand if you just want it to be done with though.

    4. HereKittyKitty*

      Really happy you were able to leave! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor or therapist to work through any residual trauma. A ton of people don’t think work trauma is worth going to therapy about, but it totally is and can be a great resource for reestablishing boundaries in the workplace!

    5. WingNWing*

      I was smiling before (and your hubby is extremely insightful) but the fact that they are sour now that they’ve discovered how hard it is to replace you is just karma at its finest…

    6. Purple Cat*

      Your husband sounds amazing. And I admire your strength and determination and commitment to moving forward and not letting those terrible people keep you down.

    7. Danish*

      They deserve every minute of laughter at their expense, and I’m glad you can laugh now!

    8. More Coffee Please*

      Reading your story made me so sad, and I’m so glad to hear you’re out of there and into a better environment!

    9. Sara without an H*

      (Apparently it was nearly impossible to replace me and they were all super sour about it).

      Awww, this just breaks my heart. Blocking these glassbowls must have been truly satisfying.

      Congratulations! And btw…you have a fantastic husband.

    10. Jackalope*

      So glad you made it out, and here are some hugs (if you want them) from an internet stranger. I’ve had things like that happen before where something physical wasn’t as bad as the verbal, even though on the surface the physical seemed awful. Here’s hoping that you manage to make it through the PTSD and then move on!

    11. Anthony J Crowley*

      “(Apparently it was nearly impossible to replace me and they were all super sour about it).”

      And isn’t that just the cherry on top of this story?! Maybe they should have NOT BEEN A BUNCH OF AWFUL, AWFUL PEOPLE.

      I’m so glad you got out. So so glad. And as a Brit I’d like to apologise for that horrific excuse for a man.

      1. Sapientia*

        Thank you for sharing your story! It really reinforced my belief that I should always take a hard look at the work environment, not only the work itself – being new to the workforce, this is really helpful.

        So glad that you got through it all and it’s over now! As a side note: What kind of person disdains it when someone else brings baked goods?! One might not like the pastry itself, but the effort should usually generate goodwill, right?

      2. Squirrel123*

        I would also like to apologise on behalf of Britain, and I just hope that this truly disgraceful conduct by your former boss hasn’t put you off British people. Unfortunately, there has been a clear increase in prejudice, racism and toxic behaviour here since 2016 but this is NOT normal or legal behaviour here, and you were treated appallingly. I am sorry, and I wish you the sweetest revenge: living well.

        1. TigerCat*

          Hey Squirrel, I appreciate the thoughts, but as someone not from the U.K., it has always been like this (I mean, the British Empire turned where I’m from into its livestock larder and massacred the indigenous people and even though I’m a dual passport holder AND I’m white, your home office scares the ever loving sh1t out of me!) My worst working experiences have been with white British Oxbridge guys.

          However, as you said: live well! And

    12. Middle Aged Lady*

      Ha ha I am loving that you were hard to replace! He couldn’t simply find a British lad? I am glad your spouse is supportive. I am glad you got out.

  12. MissDisplaced*

    #4 HOLY *S on a Stick!
    This guy got drunk and basically accosted you while at work? In front of everyone? And NO ONE did anything to stop him? That is just beyond! You would be right to file police report, because that is so far beyond any workplace norms and completely an unsafe and abusive situation no matter what country you work in.

    I’m so glad you got out of there, but man. That guy had it coming.

  13. Bee*

    LW2: Congrats on the raise!! I’m not sure where you’re located, but FYI, in most of the US, now is a REALLY good time to try to sell your house, if you’re still interested in that. The market has gone bonkers: demand is sky-high, supply and interest rates are incredibly low, and a lot of houses are getting multiple bids over already-inflated asking prices. I’m not sure from your letter whether you’d rather stay where you are or move back, but just a note that it’s a booming seller’s market right now and that’s not likely to be so true in another year.

  14. Sara without an H*

    I find it interesting to compare OP#2’s letter with OP#4’s. In OP#4’s update, the manager abused her until she left, then discovered that she was actually hard to replace. OP#2’s manager, on the other hand, supported her job search, then found a way to keep her by upgrading her position and getting her a raise.

    Managers of the World! Which result do you want????

  15. Not Australian*

    Hope this is not out of place here, but I have a little good news to contribute. I’m now officially retired (having been on the margins for about 20 years tbh, ‘retiring’ and ‘unretiring’ frequently). However I’m still an avid reader, and recently passed on AAM’s book and ‘the magic question’ to my friend’s young grandson who was interviewing for his first post-school job. I’ve just learned that he did very well at the interview on account of being fully prepared – he was asked a question about the history of the company, and he knew the answer – and was offered the job, which sounds as if it will suit him perfectly. It may not be what he does for the rest of his life, but given what I know about his personality and interests it’s a really great start – so thank you, AAM, on behalf of Jono, who may one day end up as a commenter here himself. <3

  16. Agnes A*

    It sounds like 90% of bosses out there are toxic. Also, I understand that you can delete a short-term position from your resume/ Linkedin. Otherwise, I’m not sure how to explain a gap on the resume to the potential employer (mine would be 2 years).

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