updates: no job descriptions, struggling with working from home, and more

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. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.

1. HR won’t let me see job descriptions for the people I manage

The situation got worse not better but hopefully it will be entertaining for your readers!

So, here’s what happened:
– The person who was to become my direct report was abruptly fired, along with another senior manager. No official reason was ever given but many of us dug into it privately because we were very concerned by the perception of random firings. There was a reason, and it was real and serious, but frankly I believe that the folks who were fired had good intentions and the chaotic culture of the organization made room for them to make a genuine mistake.
– The position was publicly posted after all, without any of my recommendations.
– Instead of formalizing my new management position, I was asked to formally sign off on a job description for myself that was a demotion from my pre-promotion work and title. I countered by describing how the work that I had been doing mapped onto a more senior title, not a more junior one, and asking for a 1:1 with the decision maker, which never happened, so I never signed the new job description.
– Instead of hiring someone into the subordinate role, they hired someone into the management role that I thought I had originally been given and laid me off the day the new person started. I hadn’t exactly seen it coming, but I was more than happy to leave.
– The organization’s struggles hit the media soon after, including a long list of names of departed staff being described as “rats leaving a sinking ship.” I was surprised to not be named because I fit the criteria the journalist was using.
– I had a pretty reasonable 3 month job search and found a position I was happy with, though to get it I actually gave them not my normal references, but references who were third parties to the whole debacle and were willing to say “LW was doing their best to engage ethically despite their organization’s toxic behavior.”
– Right as I was starting the new position, my partner got an amazing offer contingent on an out-of-state move. I absolutely did not want to move, especially with such a shaky recent work history, but I ultimately decided that the relationship with my partner was worth the career hit. I’ve now been looking for several months, and not working and not knowing anyone here has made me deeply depressed. Our move benefits package came with a “relocation coach” but they aren’t well networked in my field and I feel that my fears of switching job markets with a weak recent job history are well founded. Perhaps that’s another question for “Ask A Manager” – how do you make good use of professional spousal relocation support?
– In more positive news, most of my colleagues from the chaos factory have found new jobs that they are excited about, despite the pandemic, so it looks like other employers understand that low-level employees shouldn’t be held responsible for the entire bad situation.

The comments at the time were really helpful in affirming that it was a “them” problem not a “me” problem, so thank you so much for publishing my original letter!

2. I’m struggling with working at home during COVID-19

I think a big part of why I was having trouble was that I wasn’t really working on a lot. I got moved to larger account this past fall, and it’s been easier to focus since I have more to do. For my company, we had a merger with another company this winter, so our office location closed and I’m still working from home. My boss is pleased with my work and with the merger, I’m getting more responsibility and the stakeholders view me as an expert with what I do.

3. What’s my obligation to help the person who replaced me? (#3 at the link)

After reading your response, I still thought about responding but was busy with other priorities. Exactly 2 weeks later (2nd week of February 2021), I got another email from this person saying: “Just wanted to resend this email in hopes of being able to connect in the near future. Talk soon!”

I can’t explain why exactly but it made me angry and frustrated so I just never responded at all. I am usually not like that but this would have been at least an hour if not more of my time and likely very draining.

Not much of an update. I just decided to have some pretty strict boundaries and take care of my own mental health.

4. Friday good news (#4 at the link)

I was OP #4 on your Friday Good News post for November 13, 2020. (Laid off after 18 years, had just accepted an offer.)

As it turns out, OldJob did me a huge favor when they booted me out the door. I hadn’t realized how sour, stale, embittered, and generally checked-out I’d become, not just in the position, but with the company as a whole and the industry to a large degree.

I’ve now been in my new position for just over 8 months, once again as part of a small and busy team supporting a large portion of the total organization. I’ve found niches in our tasking that particularly suit some of my skills; I’m building cross-functional relationships that will help improve our efficiency as a team; and I feel welcomed, valued, and needed in my role. (And recognized, too, with a merit increase at my 6-month point!)

I definitely don’t miss OldJob. There are a few people with whom I stay in casual touch, and some good memories among the detritus. But beyond that (and a few ingrained responses to that somewhat dysfunctional workplace, that I’m still working on overcoming), I’m just as happy to have put it behind me.

In short: I’m enjoying the new adventure.

{ 83 comments… read them below }

    1. Lizz Limon*

      Seriously! I remember that exact headline at the end of his term and it would further explain why it’s been so difficult for the LW to find work especially with the added burden of being newly transplanted for their spouse’s career.

      1. PABJ*

        As a government employee, I don’t think people can get fired/laid off that easily from government positions(aside from during their probationary period), nor get promotions/demotions in the way she describes.

        1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

          I agree. It’s theoretically possible if their old position was being eliminated in favor of this management one, I guess, but it does seem really unlikely given the LW’s descriptions.

          There are a lot of organizations in a lot of industries that have had well-publicized difficulties in the last couple years. We don’t even know whether the journalist was local or national here.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            It depends. For some positions, you serve “at the pleasure of” your boss. This is common for the staff in a legislator’s office. But for many, there are more protections.

        2. PT*

          Yeah the President can’t really fire that many people, as a percentage of the government workforce, no matter how much certain orange Presidents embraced the “you’re fired” catchphrase. The government is set up to prevent that exact scenario, a single jerk at the top trying to wreak havoc by taking out the worker bees: by design, they cannot.

        3. pleaset cheap rolls*

          They do at the political level – in the offices of an elected official.

    2. Ground Control*

      A cursory search of “rats leaving a sinking ship” found journalists describing several workplaces like this. I didn’t even look past the first page of options – I just closed the tab and sighed for humanity.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, I think so many businesses are in trouble you wouldn’t be able to ID this specific one.

    3. quill*

      I mean… maybe not directly but I did wonder if the whole thing was politics or bureaucracy adjacent to an extent.

  1. Tacos Every Day*

    LW #3 — I reread the original post and the update and I was somewhat irked by the new employees emails. The more I thought about it, it had to do with the wording. Like *of course* you’ll be meeting up with me and *we will* talk soon. It just seems somewhat presumptuous and reminded me of retail/sales where you are taught to phrase things differently to prey on politeness and make it harder for the customer to refuse.

    1. Coder von Frankenstein*

      I agree. It isn’t rude, exactly, the tone is quite pleasant and charming, but it’s… pushy. I also would resent somebody asserting a claim on my time and attention like this.

      I might or might not respond to the first e-mail. I certainly would not respond to the second.

      1. allathian*

        Same. It feels like a presumptious “thanks in advance” when someone’s requesting something really big that’s not a part of your ordinary job and takes it for granted that you’ll be willing, able, and eager to do it.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I have one job task that occasionally involves another department – I have taken to saying “thank you for you assistance” near the closing of my email requests.

          What I’m asking takes all of ten minutes to do – if you are in the department that has that access.

          But the emails OP3 describes read to me as “surface level polite but flavored with entitlement.” As in of course I deserve to have this done for me because I was surface level polite to OP.

        2. 'Tis Me*

          “I’m emailing again just in case my previous email went astray. I appreciate that I am potentially asking for a significant amount of your time and you have of course moved on to other things now, but if you could possibly connect with me to explain X, Y and Z (really X is most critical as Person who also did it while you were here has since moved on too), or let me know if there’s any documentation on these somewhere central (I can’t find any but have looked), I would be very grateful. If you don’t have time, or don’t remember any more, thanks anyway, but Client/Contact tells me frequently how amazing you were – there are lots of people here who say the same!- so I’m really hoping you can help.”

          (a) Gives outs;
          (b) Acknowledges that this is a big ask;
          (c) Gives a bit of structure for a quick response (“If Person or Other-Person is still there, they were cross-trained on X and helped develop the process for Y so may have documentation on these. Someone also helped out on Z sometimes. I hope that helps, I really don’t recall enough detail to be of further assistance – without the system screens in front of me I can’t quite recall the setup and of course as I’ve left I shouldn’t see them again – but wish you all the best.”)

          It lays it on *slightly* thick but that’s probably better than perfunctory “we are coworkers and as such I am entitled to your assistance” as this is not the case – and really, reaching out to people who have left the company like this really shouldn’t be necessary…

    2. Eden*

      Yeah, it reminds me of recruiter cold call emails that keep “circling back” to “check in”, you know, “just in case my last message came at a bad time”. I didn’t answer your first 4 emails and I won’t answer the 5th, yo.

    3. Nom*

      I agree! I feel like sometimes people, especially young women, are coached to talk this way to exude confidence but to me it usually reads as rude (although generally I don’t hold it against the person).

    4. Casey*

      Agreed, it’s also something in the wording that assumes … the original email got lost in junk mail? Something about re-sending the original without offering the LW an “out” rubs me the wrong way, as if the only explanation for not responding is literally not receiving the email. You’re not in an existing business relationship, you’re asking a stranger for a favor.

    5. Terrysg*

      To me, the email reads as if they both workfor the same company or even the same department, so helping this person is part of your day job. It doesn’t acknowledge how big of an ask this is.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        I think the LW left the company, as she mentioned in her original letter a “new work email”, with a different domain name presumably (and it sounded in general like she’d left the org as a whole).

        I agree though that if they were both internal there would be much more of an expectation to help out with any handover etc that was needed! To the extent that it would be insubordination to refuse in a lot of places.

    6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Now that you say that about the wording, I went back to the original letter and now I wonder if the company had said something to suggest to the new hire that she reach out to LW, and that LW would be agreeable to that? (Not suggesting that LW said anything of the sort, more like the company presumed it!)

  2. Katie*

    #3. There’s something so presumptuous about the “Talk soon!” closing of both the initial and follow-up email. It would have rubbed me the wrong way, too. How about talk never–is talk never good for you?

    1. Aggretsuko*

      “Talk soon!” is a level of optimism, for sure.

      However, why should you keep on discussing business stuff when you’re not getting paid to?

  3. Jaybeetee*

    LW2: I had a similar issue earlier in the pandemic. My substantive job is essentially long-term research, and there is very little to “mark” progress from day to day. When I saw people here talking about being 20% or 50% or 80% productive working from home, I had no idea how to apply something like that to my own work, and I *felt* very unproductive compared to being in the office (that said, my manager gave me positive feedback at the time, and my performance reviews were good).

    Some months ago I moved to a new team, doing different but adjacent work. I have a number of smaller projects now, with discrete and measurable tasks. I’ve felt way more productive in recent months, because I can see what I’m getting done.

    1. Liz*

      I know what you mean. I have no idea how I would measure productivity. My job intensity varies hugely, and on days with a lot of downtime, I probably accomplish very little. But it FEELS like I’m more productive in the office, because I can talk shop with colleagues, make tea for people, answer the door/phone, tidy stuff up, generally float around being borderline useful. If I have downtime at home, I just stare into space or read the news.

    2. Alicia*

      I’ve felt like this even when working from the office, but at least I’m at work, so no one can accuse me of not being present. I feel like a lot of people aren’t busy 100% of the time. Hell, not even 80% of the time, and we don’t talk about it, so it makes me feel like a slacker. I get my job done, I do a certain amount of exploring the additional projects, and then there’s nothing left. No one’s ever had an issue with my performance or response time, so I figure I’m doing what I should be.

  4. anon36*

    Am I the only one who thinks that #3 is being a bit harsh? I totally understand not having the time or not wanting to use up mental capacity thinking about your old job, but the person reaching out to them didn’t seem rude or unfriendly. Yeah, maybe the “talk soon!” is a bit annoying, but it’s not malicious. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with taking a few moments to help someone out. If they continue to ask for help after that, then I would definitely try to distance myself, but acting angry and ignoring them just strikes me as a bit mean.

    1. whistle*

      I don’t see how it’s harsh to just not respond to someone you’re not obligated to respond to.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you read the original letter, they weren’t asking for just a question or two — they were asking for something much more substantial and seemed to just assume she’d provide it.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        That was my read as well – that the new person just took it as a given that she could email the old person and they would jump at the chance months later to essentially train their replacement.

        I think I would have just sent a brief “sorry swamped, but there should be a whole raft of training and other process documents that I left. They were stored in “blah drive, gah folder” the last I knew.” But to each their own.

      2. Hannah Lee*

        My take on it would be maybe to reply, but to decline to meet, saying something kind of vague like “I haven’t been in that role/at that company for a while, so I’m probably not the right person to speak with regarding their current practices, policies, needs” Because honestly, at some companies, after a couple of months and with some key staff changes, AND over the course of a pandemic year when everything has changed, who knows if the way things worked in the “before times” are really relevant to what would work now.

        Either that or a “Hi, sorry, but that won’t be possible. My new position is just keeping me so busy, I’m not able to schedule anything” with a ‘best of luck to you’ kind of sign off.

        And then set an inbox rule to filter any more messages from this person. Because no matter how they worded the request (and yes it was pushy) there are probably at least a dozen other people this person should be checking in with about their job for tips and strategies before they start repeatedly messaging a complete stranger who owes them nothing, doesn’t work for them, and who hasn’t worked at that company for months.

    3. Jean*

      This person wasn’t owed any kind of response. If you want to help out and are up for it, great, but it’s not mean to set and enforce boundaries around your own time and energy.

    4. ENFP in Texas*

      I don’t think it’s being harsh at all. The LW is at a new job, and isn’t a co-worker. She has no obligation to her old company if she truly did everything reasonably expected to transition when she still worked for them. Especially since it sounds from the original letter that the LW doesn’t want just a couple of questions answered:

      “I was hoping to schedule some time with you to pick your brain, learn more about the everyday functions of this role and get your lessons learned and overall advice for success in this role.”

      1. Autumnheart*

        Yeah, that reads to me like, “I’m hoping you’ll train me on this job since nobody else is doing it,” or something along those lines. Like, the time to do that would have been during OP’s notice period, if management had had the opportunity to hire a replacement before OP’s last day. Once OP’s out the door, that’s it.

        I guess what rubs me the wrong way about the ask (and the “talk soon!” follow-up) is that it assumes an obligation on OP’s part to train their replacement! No. OP quit and works somewhere else now. I don’t know who encouraged the new employee to contact OP for training, but it wasn’t appropriate. Training is the responsibility of current employees and management, not former ones who are no longer on the payroll. I won’t put all the blame on the new employee, because they were pretty polite and may very well be between a rock and a hard place, but that’s the former company’s problem. OP not responding was 100% fine.

    5. Coder von Frankenstein*

      “Acting angry” doesn’t apply. The only action that LW3 took was… not taking any action. They may have *felt* annoyed, but anger isn’t something that transmits over the Internet in place of the e-mail that you didn’t send. :)

      Silence is a perfectly valid response to repeated, unsolicited requests from someone you don’t know and have no obligation to. A polite response is equally valid. LW3 chose the former option, and I don’t see anything harsh in that.

    6. it's me*

      There was nothing inherently rude or malicious about the tone, no, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an out-of-bounds request.

    7. Sparkles McFadden*

      It was months after the LW left the job and it was essentially a request for training.

    8. Julia*

      You’re getting a lot of disagreement here, but I agree with you. I also think it’s really juvenile and kind of inexcusable to just not reply at all. But that’s one of my major email pet peeves. If you’re uncomfortable meeting up, say something. Otherwise it’s not “setting boundaries”, it’s just being rude.

      1. Maltypass*

        It’s rude of OP’s ex colleague to assume OP is going to give substantial help to a company she no longer works for. For a lot of people saying no can be difficult, especially when someone is being so presumptuous, and she doesn’t owe them that emotional labour. Just because it’s your preference doesn’t mean OP is ‘juvenile, inexcusable, and rude’ for simply not replying. You’re being unkind and unrealistic

        1. Julia*

          I dunno, it’s a matter of interpretation. I just read the email differently. I don’t think it’s all that presumptuous. It compliments LW and then says “I was hoping to schedule some time to pick your brain”. To me that sounds like a request. Like, maybe the underlying tone carries a bit of presumption? But emails can be misinterpreted and not everybody is great at perfectly expressing what they want to say. I’d be with you if the email had said something like “We will need to meet soon to discuss the role. Let me know what times work for you.” This is not that.

        2. Julia*

          Also, oof, saying no to someone is not emotional labor just because some people find it hard. If you have trouble saying no to a yes/no request, you need to get better at that. I am firmly in the “ask culture” camp on this one. (Except for romantic advances. I think in that case sometimes people just need to know not to ask in the first place. But work requests, yes.)

          1. ceiswyn*

            And if you ask for something that’s a bit of an overreach, it is not particularly laborious to interpret silence as reluctance.

            And yet.

            1. Julia*

              That seems different to me, because silence is genuinely ambiguous. Particularly if I’ve never emailed this person before – I don’t know if I have the wrong address, if my emails are going to spam, if she’s just one of those people who never respond to emails or need a reminder email… If I were that person I would not assume on these facts that I was being soft-rejected.

              This actually gets at one of my big fears as a socially anxious person: people are really annoyed at me for crossing some social line, but they won’t tell me so I have no way of knowing. Please don’t inflict this fear on your acquaintances!

              1. Database Developer Dude*

                So you want understanding for social anxiety, but you’re not going to give understanding about someone not wanting to do emotional labor or other work for a previous company they left. Hypocritical much?

                1. Julia*

                  I think that’s disingenuous. My position is it’s 100% reasonable for LW to decide she doesn’t want to do work for her old company. She just needs to actually say that, not just ghost people.

              2. BethDH*

                I think you’re mixing up business relationships with social relationships, or even perhaps business contact relationships with colleague relationships.
                If OP had an ongoing relationship with this person in a social way, or if they were just in a different department, I would say they needed to reply even if they were just saying no.
                But by your rules, someone could send me a polite sales email and I’d be obligated to respond. Because the same things apply here — the email could have gone to junk! I might have missed it!
                Before you say that OP isn’t being asked to buy anything, it’s even worse — they’re being asked to donate.

                1. Julia*

                  This is an interesting lens and actually kind of changes my view of the matter a bit. I’m not sure the sales/donation analogy is spot on, though – sales is in its own category of “social etiquette says you can ignore this”, whereas requests for help between professionals who have never met are in a slightly different category. This seems analogous to an informational interview request from a newbie in the field, and I don’t think you can ignore those as freely as you ignore sales comms.

                2. Forrest*

                  You really can! I coach students to ask for informational interviews and I’m very clear that you’ll probably never hear back from about 80% of the people you contact if it’s a cold approach and that’s ok!

              3. Retired Prof*

                Trying to figure out how to say this nicely, but.. other people do not have an obligation to help you manage your social anxiety. When someone makes an unreasonable request, they don’t create an obligation that the other person respond. No response is a response. This person was not an acquaintance. It’s an unsolicited email request of time & attention from a stranger – essentially spam.

                1. Julia*

                  I think you did not succeed in your effort to find a way to say that nicely, unfortunately. But I can see your perspective on the email.

              4. Forrest*

                But this isn’t an acquaintance. If you’re sending an unsolicited email to someone you don’t know asking for a favour, silence is an answer! It doesn’t actually matter whether it’s a soft rejection, you’ve got the wrong email address or it’s gone to spam. None of this is stuff you need to fix!

          2. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

            When someone finds it “hard to say no”, I think sometimes that’s because it means risking/accepting some kind of loss, due to the other person’s displeasure & possible action. Or sometimes the hardness is to do with the work of anticipating the other person’s response and framing the words tactfully, and keeping one’s own emotional balance in the face of their actual or potential reaction. I do think some of that is emotional labour.

      2. Database Developer Dude*

        No, it’s not juvenile not to reply at all, and to label it so is gaslighting. OP has no obligation to remain in contact with anyone from OldJob. He or she did their due diligence before they left and has no obligation to perform ANY work for free. You sound like an entitled employer who wants their people to work for free.

          1. Sasha*

            More than OP wants to expend on some random from a previous employer with a series of cheeky requests, which is fine.

          2. it's me*

            It’s even less work to not reply at all and thereby send a message that it’s not an appropriate request. Which it isn’t.

    9. npoqueen*

      I kind of agree. I understand it was a large commitment of time, but I would have written back like Alison suggested in the original letter. OP said they didn’t like some of the people at the last job, but I wouldn’t take that out on the new person. A simple, “I’m sorry, it’s been a while and I don’t remember enough for a substantive conversation, but I could point you in the right direction if you have a specific question or two.” Just to close the loop. Then again, I didn’t read the original email the new person sent as presumptuous, just overly familiar. OP owes the new person nothing, of course, but I personally don’t like taking out my frustrations with the company on someone not involved. I’d figure the new person knows they aren’t going to get a response now though.

      1. old lady*

        I have been at jobs where when it came to training, I was basically given the contact info of the prior employee. I have also been the prior employee who’s contact information has been handed out. In some cases, a deal was made with the prior employee that they would help new person come up to speed and at others, it was management doing a “hail Mary” pass because they had just become aware of all the institutional knowledge that they prior employee had, that they hadn’t documented and they were hoping that prior employee would help because they were nice people.
        Don’t be mad at the new employee. Just set them straight.
        If they were told by management to contact you, they may think there is a deal. Also, it is a small world. While you don’t have to do anything for the new person, having one more person in your field who thinks that you are knowledgeable can’t hurt. Something as simple as :
        “Sorry. I no longer work for or consult with company X. I am taken aback that they gave you my contact information without my permission. I am busy with my new job and do not have any time available provide employee training for company X. I wish you luck.”
        Then let it go.
        The people who were reaching out to me were told to by management at both jobs. At job “A” when I approached the company about setting up compensation, they acted like I grew a horn in my forehead.
        At company “B”, they arranged for a couple of weeks for me to respond via email or phone calls to questions, with the understanding that it would be after the hours of my new job.

        At one of the jobs where I was told to ask the prior employee questions and I couldn’t get a response, when I informed the management, I was told to be more persistent. Almost like there was a deal and she wasn’t playing by the rules. This was company ‘A”. So no. There was no deal.
        You telling new employee that you are not contacted to train them would actually be doing them a favor.

  5. Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii*

    Update number one was the post i was originally thinking of when i posted this in another article the other day:
    There is a Dilbert comic about the company strategic plan being kept secret from employees, Dilbert caught a glance and it turned out to be the boss’s chair warranty. With the excellent line “I don’t think its a coincidence that that most employee sabotage is committed by employees”

  6. Steve*

    As far as #3, I see two ways to read this…

    1. The company is not doing proper training and wants free labor from the departed employee.

    2. The new employee is hoping to get “the inside scoop” regarding the different personalities in the role.

    OP doesn’t owe this person anything. However, they might feel different if it is the second situation. I have seen things recommended on Ramit Sethi’s blog where he mentions requesting grabbing coffee with someone (usually a higher up) to learn about a new industry and break into that. Of course the “talk soon” bit comes across as a bit manipulative. An “old school” high pressure sales tactic were someone “assumes the sale.”

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I feel like if you want to go that route, it should be sooner than three months in.

    2. i'm new here*

      Related to your #2, I am wondering if the request was prompted because the new employee was having difficulties with some aspect of the work environment / things were feeling a little off and was looking for a gut check from the person who held the position previously. The original email seems like more of a cover to me to get some face-to-face (or phone) time, so I would have been pretty curious to see what they really wanted to know! But I can also see not wanting to be drawn back into any drama from Old Job.

      I do think it would have been a good idea to respond, even if just to decline, especially because the LW thinks they’ll cross paths with this person professionally in the future. Not responding at all can feel like a bit of a snub when you’re on the receiving end. Obviously LW has no obligations to this person, but I see it as a professional courtesy that I would personally extend to a peer in my field. And I don’t actually think it’s too late to just reply now with a “So sorry, this got buried in my inbox. I’m sure you’re well situated by now. Hope things are going well, take care!”

    3. Artemesia*

      I think it is annoying because it sounds like ‘I have applied to your company for the director position and am calling to schedule an interview.’ It is pushy and presumptuous. After the initial cold response, the OP is fine to just ignore.

  7. Esmeralda*

    OP 3: it made you angry and frustrated because there was no acknowledgement that you had no obligation to help, no please, no thank you — no sense that they were asking you a favor.

    Good boundaries OP!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I agree that the email read like, “of course you will do this thing even though you don’t work for us and haven’t for months now.” The assumption was strong in those emails.

  8. Just @ me next time*

    I thought I was struggling with working from home, but then I went back to the office for a while, and it turns out I was just struggling with working.

  9. Uhg*

    Thank you for #4 – It is exactly what I need to hear. I just found out my organization is restructuring and my position will be eliminated in the next budget year. Due to some other turnover, I think I found out sooner than they were planning so the good news is I have 6 months to find a new position (though I hope it won’t take that long). When I’m not in shock, I do know I have been feeling stagnate, so hoping this leads to a new job that I’m excited about. I have solid experience and a lot of contacts, so I am optimistic (when I don’t feeling like vomiting) that I will find something sooner rather than later.

    1. Artemesia*

      When someone won’t put your ‘promotion’ in writing or provide a job description and just generally yanks you around that is a screaming siren to leave the building. Either the business is foundering or they are planning to fire or downgrade you — or maybe they are just incompetent — but the behavior in that letter felt like people getting ready to do bad things to the LW.

  10. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    LW #1 = Rats that leave a sinking ship for dry, safer land, tend to have a better chance of survival, than those that choose to stay aboard and go down with the ship!

    I’ve been in situations exactly like that and bailed out and moved forward (and, UPWARD !!!!) I felt sorry for those who swallowed the “loyalty and comraderie” kool-aid.

    In fact, I often tell people who are on a “sinking ship” to make plans to leave BEFORE severance packages are discussed. Yes, the “package” might be attractive but after the parachute money runs out, you may end up still being unemployed (or, under-employed).

    1. singlemaltgirl*

      frankly if you’re not in leadership (not captaining/commanding that ship) then it’s not ‘your’ problem that it’s sinking. honestly, i hate that phrase when it applies in this context. people are not ‘rats’ for choosing to leave a place that is failing due to poor mgmt, poor business decisions, and/or a poor economy. people have a right to leave any job they’re not happy with or is not meeting their needs. they don’t ‘belong’ to a company.

      i have always appreciated loyalty but i don’t expect it. and someone is still not a ‘rat’ for not being loyal. what a shitty way to think of people, frankly and that journalist should be ashamed.

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          And the original sense was that rats or mice were believed to know of a ship or building’s impending disaster before a human would, and flee – much like we now use the “canary in a coal mine” phrase. There is a Merriam-Webster article on this topic. So using that sense, a mass of employees leaving would mean the company is in terrible shape and that had been hidden from outside eyes.

  11. Hannah Lee*

    For update #1, maybe it was just my experience working at a large company with some dysfunctional departments, and shady, ego-driven management practices, but this part of the update:

    “– Instead of hiring someone into the subordinate role, they hired someone into the management role that I thought I had originally been given and laid me off the day the new person started. …”

    was kind of where my mind went when I read the original letter. Not the layoff part, but the “we gave a ‘promotion’ to an internal hire, but are being very squirrelly about actually giving that person the authority, autonomy, tools and support to succeed in that new role” got my spidey senses going that some Exec VP’s college buddy or pet employee was lurking somewhere in the wings, or there was about to be a big re-org that would mean LW would have been spinning their wheels for no good reason.
    Sorry LW that you had to go through that, and I’m glad you’re free of that place. I hope you at least had gotten some pay raise that will give you a better starting point at your next position.

  12. singlemaltgirl*

    i gotta say that sometimes when i read this blog, i’m rather amazed that things that i thought were mgmt basics, are so foreign in some workplaces. i used to think i was a really bad mgr when i first started b/c i did things openly and transparently (i still keep to that mostly) and considered doing the opposite of everything i hated about previous managers (but not necessarily having the ‘right’ way of doing things).

    compared to this blog, i’m like in the top 10% of mgrs out there! (not that i believe this but sometimes this blog can give you a skewed perspective). how do so many places continue to exist and survive with the shit that goes on?!?!? omg

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