update: my new job is a nightmare built on a hellmouth

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, where all month I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose new job in property management appeared to be built on a hellmouth? (First update here.) Here’s the resolution.

The last time I sent in an update I was still at the Hellmouth, it was becoming increasingly obvious that my manager was actually a lying jerk — and she was also setting up secret video and audio surveillance in my personal office, weird disasters and unusual phenomena were still occurring pretty regularly, residents were still being extra horrible, and I was applying and interviewing my heart out anywhere that sounded halfway decent. Well, things wound up getting much worse before they got better, and it took a really long time, but (spoiler!) I got out!

Things got truly bonkers before that happened, though. (I posted about it pretty regularly in the Friday open threads —an awesome commenter rounded up a huge chunk of those threads here if anyone is interested in watching me slowly lose my sanity.)

My manager went completely off of the deep end. In addition to planting hidden microphones and cameras all over the place (mostly in my office), she did all kinds of truly out there stuff (such as taking checks out of my moneybag and trying to hide them so she could write me up for not processing them, telling staff members that she needed them for a project on property before putting them in her vehicle and then driving them off property without their consent in order to interrogate them, declaring a War on the Children on Property, declaring a very problematic War on People Wearing Hoodies, who all happened to be POC). But that’s okay! Because my awesome leasing consultant got another job and agreed to go to HR and verify everything if I wanted to make a complaint. And, well, I very much wanted to go and make a complaint!

I wound up sending them all kinds of documentation — the timeline for the hidden check thing, photos of all of the surveillance items, dates and files for shady things that she did with resident accounts, in depth and verifiable accounts of her doing shady things to employees, proof of payroll fraud … just, a LOT. And after three weeks of waiting for something to happen, I finally sent an email saying I was still being recorded without permission and I needed it to be dealt with immediately. Well, suddenly the cameras came down and the atmosphere at work got very weird and then Hell Boss was EPICALLY FIRED. That whole firing story is pretty wild, and recounted here.

Once HellBoss was gone, there was at least no one actively trying to destroy me (although we did have a flood of bad online reviews from fake residents that were definitely her—every single one of them included high praise for her and talked about how terrible everything was now that she was gone). It was still pretty awful, though, and I had to do the work of the manager and two leasing consultants in addition to all of the assistant manager duties. And still had to work every weekend. Plus there were still wasp situations, giant snakes slithering through the office (non-poisonous but still… alarming), and scary resident situations (teeny-tiny sampling: someone got shot on the property, there was an unrelated car chase through the property when another resident fled the scene of a hit and run, etc.). Because of course they did. Although I was very grateful for the awesome temp I had in the office (we still text occasionally, she is just a terrific person) and I did get a foster boss who came in from a neighboring state for a few days every two weeks or so who was great (she became an excellent reference for me), working there was still the stuff that fuels nightmares. Also, shortly after HellBoss was vanquished from the property we learned that the property management side of our company was going to CEASE TO EXIST in very short order, and all properties would be taken over by a new management company … once they lined one up.

So yeah, I (finally) got the hell out of there. It turns out “company I work for will cease to exist by the end of the month” goes a long way towards making leaving a job before you’ve been there a year look a lot less flakey. So, uh … thanks, Hellmouth Overlords, I guess?

I took an interim job as a leasing consultant (a step down in pay and position, but also in responsibilities, which I really needed at that point) at a luxury property while I continued to look for a way out of property management and cooled my heels while waiting through the lengthy process of interviewing for positions with state government agencies. It was a really nice break/recovery period with a kind manager and pleasant coworkers, and the worst things I dealt with were jerks trying to force their way into the office an hour before opening, rich people being ridiculous, and rich white dudes finding a way to “casually” mention how much money they made or namedrop famous or influential people they knew every time I had to tell them no or explain why I couldn’t do what they wanted. CHILD’S PLAY, y’all.

I found my in with a mildly dysfunctional but friendly state agency as an upper level admin/HR liaison before I was even at that job long enough to need to put it on my resume. After being at the new job for about a year and a half, I got a call from one of the HR people who had helped train me back when I started. She had left to work for another state agency’s HR department as a manager, had an HR analyst position open up on her team, and wanted me to apply! Since moving into HR had been my ultimate goal since I left the Hellmouth I jumped at the chance. I secured the job, moved on over, and have been here for about three months now. I’m making better money than I did at the Hellmouth, everyone on my team is friendly and helpful and making sure my training is going well, my boss is incredibly supportive and kind, and I’ve lucked into an agency that is super funded and has a lot of extra perks. The work is very challenging and I still have a great deal to learn, but I really like it. And once I’ve been here for a year I will qualify for a tuition reimbursement program, and my boss has already told me that she’ll approve me for it so I can get a masters degree in HR. Hooray! I AM NEVER LEAVING.

I have seen Hellboss exactly one time since her dramatic exit, but immediately ran and hid so she didn’t see me. I do not regret this. I will do it again. I was worried about a frivolous lawsuit from her, but Covid shut down everything at about the time she would have hit the deadline for filing and I guess she had other things on her mind. She is apparently now working at a local property management company as a regional manager, which is a big upgrade from a property manager—no idea how she managed that but I’m not surprised as she always seems to land on her feet.

Also, please accept this drawing my younger brother drew and sent me right after the HellBoss Showdown as a further I-can’t-believe-it-took-me-so-long-to-send-in-this-update apology. Fun fact: I asked him how he knew what she looked like and he told me he Googled Lovecraftian Nightmare and her image popped right up!

{ 165 comments… read them below }

  1. MK*

    I have two words for you OP: book deal. When your memoir gets published, be sure to let us know.

    1. CoveredInBees*

      10/10 would read this book and watch this movie. Maybe a fancy mini-series even?

    2. 3DogNight*

      YES! OMG
      All I have to say to this whole mess (which I somehow missed!) is HOLY HELL!

      1. Retired Prof*

        Seriously, you need to write a book. Turn the Hellmouth into a novel. We would all buy it.

      2. Katz Pajamas*

        I rarely ever did read the Friday free for alls, but I happened to catch one of your first posts, and I scoured the Friday posts every week until the end! I was so happy to hear that you got out of there, but really sorry that the stories ended. You have a way with words, and really should write the book!

      3. Jules the 3rd*

        We are all just grateful for:
        1) you made it out alive and well
        2) it wasn’t us.

        Forget a film, this is at least three seasons on Netflix, a la Schitt$ Creek.

    3. Magenta Sky*

      I’ll have to be sold as fiction. Nobody will ever believe it was real.

      (And I agree about the illustrations.)

    4. ZombieDC*

      This is genius. Riveting. It is the stuff of books or of movies (can your brother illustrate or animate, depending on the medium this amazing saga takes?) I looked forward to/internally dreaded any updates from you on Fridays and I cannot be happier for you with your new role. Well deserved. You are fantastic.

    5. Artemesia*

      Could be the next ‘Devil Wears Prada’ — this one was unbelievable — but I believe it as I have observed workplace situations a little bit like this when doing consulting — it is always hard to fathom how anyone could behave like this but they do.

    6. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      I very much enjoy the house on fire on the calendar, and the name plate on the desk!

    7. Sparrow*

      I used to get on the Friday open thread just to search for her weekly updates, and I would totally read it all again in a book format! OP, I’m really happy that the Hellmouth is in your past and you’re in a really good place now. What a relief!

    8. RC*

      Perhaps a collab with your brother on a graphic novel. This was epic–I am so sorry that you had this experience, but so glad I read about it. Wow.

    9. Tupac Coachella*

      Seriously. After reading a few of these posts, especially the one where Hell Boss got fired, I Work on A Hellmouth might be my current favorite author.

  2. kittymommy*

    OMG, hellmouth, I still think of you (and the woman who worked with the bees and Wakeen – i think that was his name )and you’re never-ending nightmare. I’m so happy it’s all still going great for you!!

    1. Joan Rivers*

      As much as I hate to say this, and hope it’s taken in the spirit it’s intended —
      it’s tough jobs like that that can help us grow sometimes. Or at least confront who we are. Maybe we work on ourselves.
      None of us deserve abuse, just to “strengthen us.” But maybe it’s like “working out” — it’s painful but makes us stronger.
      Is that what the Universe is doing? Don’t know.
      And we for sure have the right to report any abuse and fight it all we can.

      1. Metadata minion*

        Some types of stress are like working out, but others are like being injured. Nobody says “oh, yay, you broke your leg; it will totally be stronger now!” I absolutely support people finding silver linings and lessons and growth and whatnot from trauma, but sometimes it’s just…trauma. And injury. And it leaves you weaker than when you started and the work you have to do is to get back to baseline.

  3. CatCat*

    It was such a wild ride. Glad things are going so well and glad you sent in this update. That picture is PURE GOLD and will hopefully be on the cover of the comic book version of your memoir from the time at the Hellmouth.

    1. starsaphire*

      Right? So. Perfect.

      HM(TMF), I am so happy for you that you escaped. And with your sense of humor intact! :)

  4. Essess*

    I just went over and read the epic firing story. I’m horrified that they didn’t have a security person there at the time of the firing to ensure your safety during her departure since she’s known to be so unhinged.

    1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      Yeah, I was pretty horrified at the time also! The company was… not the most together company. Shocking, I know.

  5. Kaboom001122*

    As someone who works in property management… these occurrences are a bit extra, but not actually too far off from some properties in our portfolio. Not saying it’s ok, just saying… yeah it happens.

    1. Mayflower*

      As a small time landlord, this is all too familiar. Half my tenants are nice, reasonable people but the other half…

    2. Campfire Raccoon*

      Same. I work with a lot of property managers and I kept thinking maybe I knew Hellboss.

      “Knew” = “Having suffered her fiery incompetence.”

    3. A.*

      Yup. I worked in retail property management for 3 years and that was insane enough for me–never did residential because I didn’t want, well, this. But I remember reading the original post and thinking that it was basically my old job with a worse boss and worse tenants.

    4. Magenta Sky*

      My father managed apartments. As incredible as some of these incidents are, I believe every one. I suspect you can imagine what it takes to get a woman who is 8 1/2 months pregnant (with four kids already) evicted, and her furniture hauled out to the sidewalk by the deputies doing the eviction. And I’ll bet you wish you couldn’t.

    5. FD*

      Yeah, same. We have about 300 units and some of the wilder ones include:

      – The property where people kept pooping in the laundry room
      – The one where the woman called and shouted at us and threatened to call a lawyer because we were replacing the building’s roof (which had been badly damaged in a storm)
      – The one where the woman deliberately flooded her unit by stuffing socks and t-shirts down all the drains and leaving all the water running…and then not only came back a month later and tried to make me give her a unit but then tried to apply for ANOTHER unit a couple of years later
      – The one where the tenant tried to make us pay for city ramp parking for her because the shared garage was…shared (as was clearly advertised in the listing)
      – The one where the tenant caused a fire department scare by running his car inside the garage which is underneath tenant units…and then did it AGAIN 24 hours later
      – The one where one of our tenants was interested in one of our other units on the market but only if we could promise that it isn’t haunted

  6. Damn it, Hardison!*

    I remember scanning the Friday open thread every week while this was going down, hoping for a good update. I’m so glad it has all worked out for the best for you, OP! Your ability to write about your bonkers situation and retain a sense of humor is amazing, as is your brother’s illustration.

    1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      Aw, thanks. Truthfully, Alison made me look like a much better write here–she trimmed this update up really nicely, it was WAY too long when I sent it in.

      1. has*

        Good editors are worth their weight in gold—covet them!

        If you decide to explore the book option (and there’s always a market for tasty human interest stories), I’d suggest asking Alison if you can have a word in private. As a published author herself she could give you some idea of where to start and what’s involved (including how many months of your free time it will eat, and how rich it almost certainly won’t make you), and maybe introduce you to contacts there who can guide you further.


    2. Weegie*

      I used to do that too! Looked forward to reading the Friday updates all week and was sorry when they ended (but glad you got out of there eventually, Hellmouth). Let us know when you’ve written your book!

  7. Save the Hellbender*

    The big bad was defeated, but the hellmouth didn’t collapse in on itself as you escaped. Ah, well – still pretty close to the Buffy series finale.

    1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Will Always Be Blue*

      I still think Buffy should have ended with season 5. Great show but that would have been the most fitting ending. It was, literally, her purpose in life.

      1. Coffee Cup*

        But then we wouldn’t have Season 6, which is a masterpiece! Maybe the best allegory of depression ever.

      2. Save the Hellbender*

        6 and 7 were definitely rushed and dark, but I do like it ending with the end of the “Chosen One”. And then we wouldn’t have had Once More With Feeling…

  8. Elizabeth West*

    That picture is epically awesome.

    This whole thing reminded me of an old blog I used to read, the one called Wide Lawns, Narrow Minds (it’s still online but is now private). I am so glad you got out of there, No-Longer-On-a-Hellmouth.

    Also, I want a t-shirt that says “NEVER CONTACT ME AGAIN!” :D

    1. Amber Rose*

      And on the back “I will contact you by Wednesday of This Week.”

      AAM seriously needs merch. xD

      1. D3*

        Wasn’t it “I will CONFRONT you by Wednesday of this week” – it was definitely stronger than contact!

        1. ShowTime*

          Yes, it was. Maybe do a combo? “I will never confront you again by Wednesday of this week.”

    2. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      The picture is the greatest thing my brother has ever given me. It will never be topped.

      I feel like font selection would be crucial for that t-shirt.

      1. Magenta Sky*

        My brother owns a silk screening shop. He could crank shirts out by the thousands at a bargain price. I know I’d buy one.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Brother’s drawing on a tshirt? Possible. Tote bag big enough for my laptop?? Definitely!

  9. KimberlyR*

    This update is epic and amazing (as is the brother’s illustration) and I love it!

  10. HappySnoopy*

    You still have a great talent for writing formerly-of-the-hellmouth. So glad to hear you got the career and job you wanted with great benefits too(tuition assistance for mba!)!

  11. Falling Diphthong*

    Someone needs to move the squirrel with the very specific vehicle vendetta from the Hellmouth to the super rich guy parking lot.

  12. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Wow!!! I don’t remember if I actually read the story of Hell Boss getting canned before or not. But yay! I’m glad you have landed somewhere better now.

    Also, the whole “never contact me again” thing reminded me of an incident early in my career (second FT out of college job), where my manager let an employee go and she blamed me for it. I was… 24ish and she was late 40s/early 50s and this was back in the early 2000s so technology was rapidly changing and she was having a hard time with it.

    Anyway, boss took her into her office and had the talk and I was on the phone when she came out. I knew what was going on (I don’t remember if boss actually gave me a heads up or if I just sensed it or whatever), but she got her things together and was hovering around my desk. I remember dragging that phone call out in the hopes that she would just leave finally, but she didn’t (and I guess boss still had her door closed and didn’t realize). Anyway, she waited for me to hang up and then unleashed this torrent of hatred on me about how it was all my fault she got fired and she hoped I was happy now and blah blah blah. It was honestly kind of terrifying.

    1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      Oooof, TERRIFYING. HellBoss wasn’t going to leave without her parting shot (the slow turn was VERY obviously choreographed and practiced) but at least it was short and sweet.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      You boss should have escorted her out of the building entirely (or had security do so).

  13. DarthVelma*

    This is the update I’ve been most looking forward to. While Hellmouth’s Friday updates were amazing to read, I’d still rather know she’s somewhere a lot less full of Lovecraftian horrors.

    Hellmouth, I still think you’d make a helluva author or screenwriter. But I’m also really glad to hear you’ve found a career to really like and want to stick with. Congrats!

  14. Anoni*

    There were twists, turns, surprises, and secrecy! Best update EVAR.

    Congrats on getting into a better, less bizarre, setting that is where you want to be.

  15. Pippa K*

    Someday I want a pair of bookends, one inscribed with “Never contact me again!” and the other with “I will confront you by Wednesday of this week!”

    Congrats on your career progress and your sense of humour, Hellmouth Survivor.

    1. Let's Just Say*

      Omg, bookends would be the absolute perfect AAM merch. And a bread basket for cheap-ass rolls?

  16. Kevin Sours*

    *List long series of complete chiroptera excrement events* … and then things got truely bonkers.

  17. Chicago Anon*

    Oh, yay! Thank you for this, and for the illustration, and congratulations on finally having a happy ending!

  18. Amber Rose*

    You now have the best story for when drinking parties are a thing we can do again.

    I’m so glad you’re free and happy. I thought of you every now and then hoping things were somehow getting better. Good luck with your future master’s degree!

    1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      I also will always have a reason to drink now, lol! Thanks for all of the good thoughts, they clearly worked!

  19. Merci Dee*

    “0 Days Since Last Resident Attack”

    I absolutely adore that sign. I can’t decide whether that’s my favorite, or the 666 clock above the desk.

    This drawing is amazing! :)

    1. Amber Rose*

      I like that her nameplate says The Motherf**ker personally, since I remember in the firing story that was the title she wanted. :D

    2. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      It is my favorite thing my brother has ever given to me. I STILL laugh every time I look at it.

  20. Dust Bunny*

    I’m a middle-aged woman who lives with her parents and Letter 1 is why. They don’t keep tabs on me or anything, and they may have their own issues but they’re a known quantity (and the neighborhood is a lot nicer and safer than I could afford on my own).

    Best wishes finding a new job, OP1!

  21. Empress Grandma*

    The ongoing saga of hellish events with a great, uplifting ending, coupled with your brother’s hilarious spot-on drawing, have made my day! Congratulations on surviving and your new nickname, Mother***er!

  22. AndersonDarling*

    For everyone who thinks references aren’t necessary…you may have just hired Hellboss!
    I swear these people have a Charisma +10 that allows them to con their way into an executive job after being fired from every job for loony-toon, crazytrain reasons.
    Hooray for the OP! And I will wait for Hellboss’s new direct reports to start writing in with stories…

    1. Magenta Sky*

      I knew a guy who could con his way into any job at all, in any field. So far as I know, he never held a single job more than a few weeks, but was never unemployed more than a few days at a time. It’s scary that there are people like that.

  23. lcsa99*

    Love the illustration from your brother!

    So Hellmouth, do you still have nightmares where your escape was all a mistake and you have to go back to the Hellmouth? Or your great boss is leaving and HellBoss is taking her place? So glad you did escape it all!

    1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      I don’t have nightmares, but the only reason I log onto Facebook anymore is so I can peep my Memories for the day… there is inevitably always something from the Hellmouth Year in there and it almost always shocks me a little, lol.

  24. Archaeopteryx*

    That is the greatest piece of art I have ever seen.

    Congratulations! Glad you’re free!

  25. Wisteria*

    The original letter had this:

    The day I got laid off, I called a former manager of mine (one of the good ones) from my not-so-long-ago property management days because she was always one of the most plugged-in networkers in town. I was absolutely floored when, the very next day, she offered me a position as her assistant manager

    Was the Hellboss the same person who you previously described as “one of the good ones?” Or did you get a new manager at some point?

    Either way, I’m glad you are at a better job now!

    1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      Yep! Same person. I had thought she was a good boss who was being unfairly treated and squeezed out at a previous job–I later learned that she actually was secretly sabotaging the entire staff, throwing them under the bus with corporate, and was likely stealing funds. Which is the real reason she was let go from that first job (she had told us all it was age discrimination).

      1. Wisteria*

        That sure explains the “Never contact me again” comment. Wow. And not an inkling of any of her hijinks at the previous job? Another wow. Charisma +10 for sure.

  26. Unkempt Flatware*

    I wish I could see what would have happened if, when she said, “CAROLINE”, you picked up a ringing phone or something. I feel like she would have waited as long as it took to be able to say, “never contact me again!”

  27. RedinSC*

    I love the picture your brother drew! COngrats on getting out and getting a solid new job. GO YOU!

  28. Esmeralda*

    YES! HELLMOUTH!!! I’ve been longing for this update!

    Book with a big ol movie deal. Haha, maybe with SYFY channel???

  29. Indie*

    I just… WOW! … speachless. OP, you have to get a deal with Netflix and such, it will be a hit!

  30. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    The update is delightful, but the drawing puts this post over the top into PURE GOLD. Motherf*cker’s Brother should consider a regular gig drawing office cartoons!

    (Also, I sympathize with the desire to be known as “the motherf*cker.” Someone respectfully called me a “boss ass bitch” not long ago and I swear I want to print up business cards.)

  31. Txag18*

    Glad you made it out of a bad situation! And I love your brother’s drawing; thanks for sharing it with us!!

  32. Campfire Raccoon*

    The whole time I was reading your saga (I know I didn’t catch them all) I was wondering if I knew Hellboss. I work pretty much exclusively with property managers and she coulda been two or three managers I know. I kept trying to pin down the property based on your supernatural experiences, lol!

    Congratulations on your new job and freedom. I am so very happy for you.

  33. ECHM*

    Hellmouth! So glad to hear from you and that you are doing so well in your new place! I have often wondered how things turned out for you!

  34. Batty Twerp*

    I’m halfway through re-reading all the entries in the Friday threads (thank you Seeking Second Childhood*) and it’s by turns hilarious and heart-breaking.
    The animals? Funniest thing I’ve read in ages – you have such a way with words describing the squirrel army, the newly resident geese, the wasps, the spiders… (-shudders-). I kept trying to picture what kind of suburban jungle this property was located in!
    The humans? Angry tears on your behalf – it’s really saying something when the non-human characters come across as better behaved. And this update? Karma was clearly looking the other way when it comes to that ex-boss [redacted word that will get me kicked off the internet], but only because She needed to focus on you.
    I’m so glad you’re out, and doing well.

    1. Batty Twerp*

      Oh, and pelicans, armadillos, snakes and rats….

      I will never complain about my office again!

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          The downside of reading on a mobile device is that control F doesn’t exist (so thank you Seeking Second Childhood). That was a wild ride and I’m so glad that you were able to escape and move on. The best revenge is moving on and living well without a thought to the other person.

  35. NeonDreams*

    I am not familiar with your saga (I’ve only starting AAM in the last year or so), but I will go back and read it. Most importantly I’m happy to hear things are going well now. The drawing from your brother is hilarious as well. He’s well on his way to being a comic book artist with those skills!

  36. Pants*

    Oh Slayer of the Evil Bosses! I am so happy you’ve left the Hellmouth!! Even more so that you’re somewhere in a Happy Place!!

    Seriously though. Write a book. This is totally book material. Maybe get your brother to illustrate it and turn it into a comicbook!

    1. Anonynonymouse*

      I had to stop and read this as soon as I saw the tweet.. Holy..!
      Welcome to the HR world! Of course, I really doubt you’ll come across anything like what you went through at the Hellmouth (though some days might get close).

      That picture is gold. Besides the boss, the “Days Since Last Resident Attack” made me LOL – very awesome.

    2. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      Lol, if I had any idea how to get a book published, I probably would. Just for funsies.

      1. Pants*

        I might be able to help you there if you’re willing to go for a small publisher. A friend of mine is an author. She writes books as well as short (sometimes long) stories for lit mags and anthologies. Most of her stuff is horror-based with a twinge of humour. Definitely something you could do!

  37. Lucien Nova*

    How did I MISS that update? Holy cheese! I’m glad you got out of there and things are going well for you!

    (That is also a most exquisite Art. Your brother is very talented!)

  38. Blarg*

    Ok, I hope all remains amazing and well. But I’m quite concerned that you’ve tempted the Hellmouth with the “I am never leaving.” Like how Harry turned out to be a horcrux….

    Great to hear such a positive and enthusiastic update! And also a good reminder that being eaten by mosquitoes in the lobby of my apartment building is not even close to the worst thing that could have happened. Wasps, for instance.

    1. KoiFeeder*

      Honestly, by all accounts the wasps were one of the more pleasant and respectful residents of the Hellmouth.

  39. Veryanon*

    I’ve often wondered what happened to Hellmouth! Thank you so much for the update!!!!

  40. Burnt eggs*

    You have no idea how I would come to the Friday Open threads and spin that scroll button searching for an update from you; I was horrified for you, dumbstruck at what you were going through, and cheering for your escape.

    Thank you so much for the update; there are so many lessons for the rest of us in the epic saga that was your life.

  41. My Brain Is Exploding*

    I have been wanting to know what happened to you for so long! Thank you for sending an update and thank you to Alison for providing it. Glad you landed in a good spot, good luck to you. (Also please post on Saturday if you have had time for sewing and let us know what you are making!)

  42. Mimmy*

    OP, I totally remember you and your epic updates about the Hellmouth! I am so glad you finally got a much better job and are on your way to a Masters in HR (once you can get the tuition reimbursement). Congrats and best of luck to you!!

    Your brother’s drawing is awesome!

  43. Akcipitrokulo*

    Congratulations on surviving the hellmouth!

    Looking forward to the movie version :D

  44. TiredMama*

    But did you have your car and house and phone checked for spy equipment? God I feel bad for whatever lawyer she tried to hire to bring a frivolous lawsuit or two or twenty. Also is this in Florida?

  45. BookishMiss*

    OP, i was SO HAPPY for you when i saw your username change, and this is just excellent. I continue to be happy for you. Congrats!

    And I’m going to join the chorus. You have a Gift with words. While i am SO GLAD you escaped the hellmouth, i do miss the Friday updates. I think a good graphic novel is the way to go. You could probably make a series, with Todd McFarlane as your illustrator.

  46. Elle Woods*

    A hearty congrats on the new gig. So glad it’s treating you well.

    I’m relatively new to the AAM community and just read your original post and all of your updates. That’s a lot of crazy for one place. I’m glad you got out of there and have moved on to bigger and better things!

  47. Cranky lady*

    After having my own hellmouth-style day, I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. Thank you!

  48. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

    I’m so glad you’re out of there and please thank your brother for this AWESOME drawing!

  49. Seeking Second Childhood*

    I’m happy to hear good news from you. May you never have such a bad workplace again…even if that does deprive us of your irreverent take on chaos. We will always have the Hellmouth.

    1. bryeny*

      Seeking Second Childhood, could you repost your list of all the Hellmouth updates, or a link to it? (And btw thank you over and over for creating it!) I was part way through it when my browser froze and I lost it. That’ll teach me to bookmark precious posts.

  50. Sick of Workplace Bullshit*

    OMG, FANTASTIC UPDATE!! Well done, OP! I’m so happy to hear that.

    Thank you, too, to the commenter who collated all the open-thread updates. I hadn’t read them before, and it was entertaining, to say the least. I am so sorry you were in such a disgusting, stressful situation, but you handled it beautifully, and wrote about it amazingly!

    All the best to you!

  51. Ray Gillette*

    The longer I look at that illustration, the better it gets. Couldn’t have asked for a better update and congratulations on making your exit!

  52. Amethystmoon*

    Wow, great update! Also, the drawing is awesome.

    I think this would make an interesting TV series, but you would have to somehow lengthen it for several seasons.

  53. JillianNicola*

    Work got real slow this afternoon so I ended up reading through the entire saga (including the open thread links) and HAHAHA WUT. I’m so glad you made it out of the hellmouth. I love that drawing. It’s all so good. Side note, are you in Florida? With the descriptions of the residents it can’t be any other state can it??

    1. Anonymous Hippo*

      As a landlord, I’m gonna say it doesn’t matter. People are crazy everywhere. We had two houses, across town from each other, have cars smash through the front walls because a guy had two families, one in each house, and his 3rd girl found out. Smashed into both houses, and then ran him down in the street. Not Florida. Our apartment building (20 units) has had 3 fires (all due to falling asleep while cooking) in the last 6 months. Property management is a trip.

  54. RunShaker*

    I’m screaming! I had no idea there were continued updates in Friday’s open thread. I read all of them before the above update. OMG and I thought my department was toxic. I’m glad all has worked out and you’re in a better place.

  55. Faith the twilight slayer*

    Holy poopsnacks. I just read all of this in my bubble bath and this is just amazing. Beyond fantastic. I kind of fell in love with you, Hellmouth.

  56. Budgie Buddy*

    I clicked over to read about the firing of the Hellmouth Boss, and I don’t know what I expected, but I definitely expected to hear the narration from Arrested Development after every paragraph break. O.o oh my what a story

  57. Two Chairs, One to Go*

    I’m so happy for you, OP! I was just wondering what happened to those Friday Hellmouth posts and I’m SO GLAD it’s because you got out and not because you were swallowed whole!

  58. Bowserkitty*

    OP, your posts live rent-free in my head. So lovely to have an update and know you got out of there!!

  59. LostIntrovert*

    Holy cow! Poor OP. I feel so bad and I’m glad you’re in a better place now. What a nightmare.

  60. Cake, yes please*

    My partner works in nonprofit/affordable property management, and has many similar stories, though fortunately, I don’t think he’s ever experienced quite as many things at a time as you have, OP. But he’s been doing this for less than five years, and here are some of the things I can think of off the top of my head that have happened. And these are just the things he’s told me.

    – His boss rage-quit out of the blue over not wanting to do subsidy paperwork anymore
    – He found out a long-term maintenance person was coercing residents into sex in exchange for maintenance (!!!!) and reported him to HR to get him fired
    – Another maintenance worker was getting drunk in the back room everyday instead of doing maintenance, but the boss refused to fire him because she didn’t want the hassle of finding a replacement
    – He worked at one building where he was especially stressed for Reasons about getting cornered in his office by violent residents, and so he kept an “escape rock” on his desk, which he planned to use to break open the plate glass window and escape if needed
    – There have been several shootings, one murder, a couple OD deaths, and countless bloody fights at his buildings over the years, and they’ve had to bring in biohazard remediation companies to clean up blood and other such from public spaces
    – A lady maced her boyfriend in the lobby and it filled the entire space with noxious gas and they had to evacuate the floor for several hours
    – A pipe burst in an unheated supply closet and flooded the entire first floor and residents had to be relocated and flooring replaced
    – He had to issue a lease violation to a resident whose guest was eating chicken wings and tossing the bones out the open window
    – He once came across a resident tenderizing a steak in the stairwell. Which isn’t against any rules, but…why? (Best theory: her kid was sleeping and she didn’t want to disturb anyone by doing it in the hall?)
    – Another time, a resident was clearly On Something and decided he needed to get rid of his couch right that moment, so he pushed it out into the hall, but then found that he couldn’t maneuver it onto the elevator or down the stairs by himself, and then spent several hours pacing back and forth looking distressed, pushing the couch to and fro, before eventually giving up and going back to his apartment and leaving the couch blocking the hall. My partner was watching this happen on the security camera, and said the guy reminded him of a Sim doing random wonky Sim Things.
    – Lots and lots and lots of moron teenagers who live in the building breaking into cars in the parking garage without realizing that there are security cameras everywhere, and getting their families evicted because of it

    For the record, one thing he’s emphasized repeatedly is that most people in his buildings are normal, nice people who aren’t on drugs and just want a safe place to raise their kids, and that 95% of the trouble in his buildings come from 5% of the residents.

    However…his job is just bonkers, it really is.

    Anyway, glad you have escaped, OP! It’s really not for the faint of heart.

    1. Kal*

      Having lived in a Hellmouth for a while before, I can attest that it gets real bonkers and really screws with you. By the time you get to the point that someone is murdered in the building next to you then the building set on fire to cover it up and your response is “eh, pretty typical for here”, you know so many things have already gone very, very wrong before that. And if you manage to get out of there, it still takes a long time to reset your normal meter. Like, none of the stuff happening at the original Hellmouth or Cake’s partner’s place seems at all weird or abnormal to me, even though I managed to escape my Hellmouth over 5 years ago. (Actually, thats a bit of a lie: having biohazard remediation in to clean up blood is really weird to me – I just got used to having a gross jacket that had to be washed constantly, because the sleeve would be used to open doors so I wasn’t in direct contact with the random blood.)

      I feel really bad for all of the employees and residents who were significantly screwed over by Hellboss’s management. Most people tend to only be in those jobs or living in those places because they really have no other options, and really does suck that a few shitty people can make it a horrible place for everyone around.

      But at the very least you got out of there, OP, and seem to have more or less kept your normal meter intact, and landed in a much better situation!

  61. Starling*

    You’re Friday updates were always something I’d scan for – you have such a way of storytelling! I’m breathing a sigh of relief and doing a happy dance for you being in a better place!

  62. Lizy*


    This really sucks. I have a ton of work to do today and if I start reading this epicness I won’t get anything done… brb bookmarking it for another day…

    Yay, OP that you’re finally out of there! And you’re an awesome storyteller.

  63. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

    I’m so glad for you! You’re a great writer with a wonderful sense of humour, and your brother’s drawing is amazing!!

  64. Three Pines Visitor*

    Busy week and I didn’t get to AAM until just now — THANK YOU so very much for the update, Former Hellmouth Inmate!!! I think about you every. single. Friday, wondering how the new job is working out.

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