updates: the ex’s hostile friend, the bait and switch, and more

Here are three updates from past letter-writers.

1. A friend of my ex-boyfriend verbally attacked me at work

I’m the one who asked you about a new hire who blew up on me because he is friends with my ex.

The day after you posted my question, I went on a week-long business trip out of town.

Guess what happened when I came back to the office? No sight of Joe! Apparently he no longer works for our company. I never even needed to talk to our senior manager (admittedly, I was putting off having that conversation out of my fear of being looked at as someone who causes drama). His character spoke for itself (I’m guessing he did something just as outrageous while I was gone).

2. My former coworkers hired me to work for them … but it was a bait and switch, they fired me, and I’m ashamed

I wanted to thank you and the AAM community for your kind words. I wrote to you in a place where I really did feel so down, and to get so much support from strangers who don’t need to be in my corner really made all the difference to me. I actually kickstarted my job search the same week the letter was published, and am happy to share I’m in a new role I love that is a 30% increase in pay for a fraction of the stress!

Now … a couple of (crazy) updates:

One, Amy and Brooke fired almost everyone else on the team there shortly after I wrote in. My first thought was that they were in financial troubles, but I heard through the grapevine they replaced all the roles and then some of those new people ended up getting let go as well. So, they’ve essentially fired every single person they ever hired to do the role I did.

I guess the slew of let go employees turned to Glassdoor to share their experiences, all nearly identical to mine – I guess I was just the first of many. I still haven’t written one, but I guess I didn’t need to!

THEN, Amy and Brooke go on to write an absolutely unhinged blog post talking about how they “love the negative glassdoor reviews” and going LINE by LINE through the reviews talking about how everyone that got let go was simply “mediocre,” ignoring all the valid criticisms and devastating experiences each reviewer had. It was truly a sight to see, it got sent to me almost a dozen times on LinkedIn from mutual connections.

So, overall, the whole experience was a great lesson. I’ll never let another person allow me to go against my own better judgment, or blindly believe colleagues/bosses have my best interest at heart. Hindsight is always 20/20, and WOW I’m so happy I’m done with that place.

Thank you again Alison, I can’t even begin to tell you how much your advice helped me come back from a really low place.

3. Can I work a second job at my first job if things are slow? (#3 at the link)

Writing in with an update to my question from February about taking a second job and working it during the downtime hours of my current full-time job.

In the interim, I’ve had a big career/life change and will be starting a (long, full-time) grad school program this fall. Since my full-time job proved itself during the pandemic that it can be fully remote, I just heard from my employer and they are making the remote-work call on a case-by-case basis, and I get to stay remote! Because I’ll be remote, I will be keeping my job while I’m in school. There will be overlap during official working hours and class time. I anticipate some early mornings, evenings, and weekend times to (unofficially) flex my work load and get stuff done. I’ve done a bit of a trial run over the past couple months and I think it is doable. Doable and I know it will be a lot, but doable. It is a huge relief to know that my living expenses will be paid for with my work paycheck, and I will be able to take out fewer student loans!

{ 152 comments… read them below }

    1. Cat Tree*

      Also, like, if every employee truly was mediocre, what does that say about them for hiring all those mediocre people?

      1. Elenna*

        Clearly it just means that all workers, everywhere, are literally all lazy and mediocre. Except for Amy and Brooke, who are perfect and doing everything right and it’s just so unfortunate that they’re saddled with mediocre employees forevermore, but it’s not like they can do anything about it!
        /all the sarcasm

      2. AB*

        Wasn’t that also a problem of Yahoo, that a new boss continually kicked out the worst 10% (or so), until even mediocre or decent people had to go and everybody’s morale plummeted? I’m not sure that every single employee has to be great.

      3. Bagpuss*

        Yes, this definitely sounds like a “Wahrt’s the common factor here?” situation.
        If you have one poorly performing / mediocre employee then it may be a bad employee or a bad fit. If everyone you hire is a poor performer / mediocre then either your hiring, or your training, or your expectations (or all three) are the problem.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          This. I think also they have not bothered to define that role at all. It seems to be a catch-all for stuff they don’t want to bother with.

    1. LCH*

      when that many people are fired at once, if they all apply for unemployment, does it affect the former employer in any way?

      1. Daniel*

        Sure. Unemployment insurance is paid out by the former employer, so it will affect how much they will have to pay out for UI.

        1. gmg22*

          Wouldn’t an employer like this be likely to try to argue that the employees in question were fired for cause (and hence don’t qualify for UI)? I mean, the question of whether that’s valid is obvious, but Amy and Brooke haven’t demonstrated common sense up to this point.

          1. Observer*

            If they know enough to realize this, I’m sure the would. However, it’s possible they didn’t get much of a chance because the way some of these situations are structured, the UEI office sends a form for the employer to fill out. If they were as stupid as they sound, they may have provided the evidence their former employees needed to prove that they were eligible.

          2. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

            It depends on the state. LW2’s former employer’s state is one of the ones where merely being a bad fit or even incompetent at your job is not enough to disqualify you from unemployment. You have to rise to the level of misconduct.

        2. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

          That’s normally the case, but a lot of states have suspended increasing UI premiums in these cases because of the pandemic.

  1. Ali G*

    I’m sorry #1 but you don’t get to leave us hanging like that! You need to find out what happened to Joe!!
    (OK kind of kidding – glad he is gone.)

    1. ecnaseener*

      For real…I wouldn’t dream of advocating workplace gossip but LW PLEASE get us that juicy gossip!!

    2. Sunny*

      I think she should still report the incident to management, so they can make sure to decline giving a good reference.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Oooh, hm, interesting! I’m on the fence, as at this point, it might be more rumor mill. I totally agree that it could be relevant in reinforcing the decision, but the decision was already made, so I’m not sure OP2 would be able to add more.

        Also relevant, Joe was there for such a short period it seems unlikely he would use this place as a reference.

      2. Anonymoose*

        He had only recently started so it would be misguided of him to use the place as a reference.

        My workplace started a Bystander training a couple years ago, where people are encouraged to report bullying and harassment if they observe it. Nearly half of all bullying and harassment reports are now from bystanders! Which gives the situations a lot more credibility (in an ideal world all self-reports would be obviously genuine and treated as such, but for now an independent observer is most credible). It is possible that Joe was fired for his behavior to the LW, based on what the other employee reported.

        1. Rainbow Brite*

          My first thought was either that, or he started badmouthing OP while she was gone and her absence made it really easy to see which one of them was causing drama.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Or maybe he lost his temper about something else. He didn’t sound like someone who was particularly professional.

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I bet he pulled a “I refuse to work with her. IT’S HER OR ME!” and then was bounced from the building.

  2. Trek*

    OP #1 If you ever find out why Joe is no longer with the company please share! So glad you were able to stay out of it and still come out on top!

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I wonder if someone asked about his encounter with OP; if he was talking to someone and OP’s name came up and he went off.
      But in my heart of heart and decades of work, I’m pretty sure OP’s encounter was not an isolated incident. His best friend’s wronging was not the only bee in his bonnet. He is a bonnet of bees.

      1. Krabby*

        Lol, “He is a bonnet of bees.” So true! There is no such thing as a one horse town when it comes to dysfunctional workplace behaviour.

      2. Elenna*

        Yeah, everyone who was like “if he acts like this to you he’ll definitely do other ridiculous stuff when he gets normal work feedback” was on the money, I’m guessing.

        1. Anon again*

          If there were witnesses and word got around about Joe’s seemingly random explosion at a senior colleague, they probably would have been looking for more red flags whether the OP said anything or not. That’s a terrible first impression to make at a new job!

      3. Observer*

        But in my heart of heart and decades of work, I’m pretty sure OP’s encounter was not an isolated incident.

        I’d be willing to bet on it, too.

    2. Me*

      Well there was a witness in the original letter. Maybe they said something.
      I know I would if I witnesses someone berating a coworker.

      1. MissGirl*

        Just thought better of my totally not serious comment. OP wants to remain anonymous and I respect that.

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      I did a google search too in hopes of finding it for my own amusement. Sadly, all I found were some blog posts about how to get bad Glassdoor reviews about your company taken down (and not in the case of slander or anything).

    2. onco fonco*

      I started searching for it and Google immediately suggested the search term ‘love the negative glassdoor reviews mediocre’ so I’m thinking there are a few of us doing it… Didn’t find it, sadly.

  3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    OP 3: Excellent. This sounds like the best of both worlds. Good luck to you. And do your best to set a good sleeping/eating/exercising/socializing* schedule.
    You are taking on a lot, so don’t forget to take care of yourself.
    *socializing outside of talking to classmates and coworkers about “wow, that weird thing that happened.” Disconnect from it all sometimes.

    1. OP3*

      Thank you— really appreciate this and already feeling the need for it during orientation week!

    2. ophelia*

      Yes, definitely seconding this. I just finished a part-time grad program while working full time, and while the work itself was always doable, the real trick was time management, and having a planned schedule really helped. OP, I would also maybe plan to give yourself a check-in after the first semester to see whether you need to adjust anything on either the school or work side. Congrats, and good luck!

  4. MMMMMmmmmMMM*

    #3, please think really seriously if you want to do both job and grad school full time. I say this as someone who basically did that, and it lead to panic attacks (and then realizing that, “hey, I might have an anxiety disorder!”).

    1. wittyrepartee*

      As someone who had to smoosh together a bunch of part time jobs in grad school- poverty is a huge stressor.

        1. wittyrepartee*

          I refuse to ever do a PhD (I did part of one and then switched to a different program’s masters) if I’m not doing it while full time working. It wasn’t the only reason I left, but the poverty was horrible. My dad left a PhD in his youth as well, “because I was tired of being poor, and I missed your mom.”

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Same. I’m done with school; working full-time and earning two degrees was excruciating. One of the reasons I quit grad school was that it required a teaching practicum—I did not have the means to do that without working.

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      I did grad school full-time (3 year program in 2.5) while working full-time (40 hours/week plus an hour commute each way) and it was busy and tiring, but didn’t cause major problems until the final semester when I had to comp-lete a portfolio assignment over 12 weeks instead of the term’s full 16. I had a bit of a breakdown and had to go down to 4-day weeks until that was done. I go out of my way to recommend NOT doing that. But in general, I think it’s doable.

      OP, make sure you block out time in your schedule for self-care — whether that’s connecting with other humans or having screen-free time to yourself or exercising or whatever works best to renew you.

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        Also a librarian and also had no issues working full time (at work) and doing grad school in the evenings. But I really think it depends upon the degree and the job.

      2. wittyrepartee*

        I recommend trying the best you can to keep your non-grad student friends. They were really important for me.

      3. OP3*

        Thank you all for these comments. I’m holding the intention to continue to cultivate my pre-school friendships and also to develop new non-school friends in my mew city.

        I’ve had to buy a lot of furniture with my move and actually bought new good quality stuff (I did do some things free from the local but nothing and FB marketplace but ended up tossing a lot of it bc they were moldy/crappy). Just knowing that I can pay for furniture and have a comfortable home is such a relief.

        Family and friends helped me see that my original plan to live in the cheapest possible place (rooming with a family type situation) wouldn’t be conducive to doing my best work for school and work, and detract from that investment. The financial easing is really huge for me (my job doesn’t pay a lot but just that little bit…)

        1. Lizzo*

          OP, I did grad school straight out of undergrad (full time student with part time retail job), and also did another round of it 10+ years later while working full time. Regardless of your current eye health, grad school + simultaneous full-time work will probably make it worse. PLEASE make sure you have some sort of vision insurance or similar plan available to you. It only took three months of 8+ hours a day on the computer for work + another 2-4 hours a day of reading and writing grad school papers for my eyes to to freak out and say, “I give up.”

      4. After 33 years ...*

        Yes, it’s doable. As others have said, make sure that you have a good time management strategy, including built-in down time. Having been a grad student a while ago and having worked with many, the time issues tend to revolve around the times of day or the number of consecutive hours that you’re at work, while working on your PhD. Working all night on one followed by all morning on the other can cause problems, especially if you’re already concerned about eye strain. Working remote may give you the necessary flexibility in scheduling, so you may not run into the same problems that students encounter who have to work retail or fast-food or in bars while studying – at least 70% of the grads and undergrads I know.
        Compared to your position, students who get a professional job after having been in grad programs are less likely to finish (or to delay), in some cases because they find that the degree isn’t necessary in the end or in the short term.
        Best of luck!

    3. 30ish*

      It sounds like they don‘t have much of a choice and many commenters seem to have managed to combine grad school with full time work. I would worry though if the LW is trying to go for an academic career. It seems impossible to do the kind of work you need to do during your PhD if you want to get a job in academia later while also working full time on a different job.

    4. Observer*

      please think really seriously if you want to do both job and grad school full time.

      They clearly DID think about carefully. I get that it’s just not realistic for everyone, but I don’t think it’s helpful to assume that it’s not doable at all or that people haven’t thought things through.

        1. H2*

          Generally I would agree with all of this, but OP intends to be in class while being being paid for work, on the down low. That is…generally not possible. In a “you can’t simultaneously be in two places” kind of way.

          1. Daffy Duck*

            Yes, I would suggest having an “official” flex time arrangement with your boss at least (even if it isn’t a company-wide policy). Not being at work when your boss expects you to be at work is a really good way to get fired. Plus, many larger companies are school-friendly, especially if it may increase your skills or an academically supportive/adjacent business.

            1. A Genuine Scientician*

              I’m not at all clear that it is on the DL. If this is an actual flex time arrangement from their manager, then more power to them. A few of my friends did their PhDs while working full time. Most of the people who decide to do that are likely to be the sort of people who can handle that workload, and as the OP has already replied that they’re not seeking an academic career path, the issue of the additional work needed beyond what’s officially required is moot.

              If they plan to be in class while also officially being responsive on the job, I feel very differently.

              Speaking as a college prof who had students clearly at paid jobs while in class over the past year, and seeing how terribly it went for the class, I would very strongly recommend against that.

          2. WellRed*

            OP Is doing it on the down low? I’m, yikes. I’m also confused as to how this has been tested as doable classes haven’t even started. Fake papers?

  5. Nusuth*

    Oh MAN I want to read that blog post. Somewhat relatedly, I used to have an all-time insane landlord who I found out (after enduring him for a bit) used to own his own company, and he was JUST as insane to his employees, as anyone could have guessed. The Glassdoor was pages and pages of reviews titled “run the other way!!!!” “CEO is a monster,” “recurring nightmare,” “clown show at the circus,” etc. The cherry on top of this validation is a review that HE WROTE HIMSELF, acknowledging the negative reviews but saying he just has “high standards” and that some losers can’t hack it. I still had to endure living under his roof for too long, but good God the validation/Glassdoor meltdown is still delicious.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Yes. I feel like LW#2 got the joy of external validation that we all don’t necessarily receive. That’s wonderful to know for 100% sure it wasn’t a you problem.

    2. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

      Their glassdoor rating is 3.0 because it’s an almost exact mix of “I love it here” and “Fired me a week after telling me how valuable I am” reviews. The company responded to every negative review with a link to the infamous blog post!

      1. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

        And they put a link from the blog post to the negative glassdoor reviews they love so much.

      2. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

        I kind of wish I could edit comments… the tone of the blog post is very much about their high standards that they refuse to compromise no matter how many uncomfortable conversations they have to have.

      3. Mid*

        Ugh, every comment you make just makes me want to read this blog post more. But, alas, my googling skills are failing me.

  6. Krabby*

    LW2, nothing tanks an employer’s ability to hire faster than rage-responding to bad Glassdoor reviews. I worked at a company where our CEO always wanted to do this and I was always talking her out of it (I had to get our IT team to block emails from Glassdoor so she’d stop getting notifications from them about new posts).
    When I left, there was no one to stop her and she started responding to every new post with justifications and other BS. It was tech and you really need to wow developers, so our hiring funnels all dried up reeeeally quickly after that.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Yeah, my former company responds to every Glassdoor review with the same canned response (one for good reviews/one for bad ones) that are like “we’re sorry you feel this way” and if they’re still at the company “please talk to your manager or HR” which …. doesn’t work if the manager or HR is the problem! I honestly think companies just shouldn’t respond to Glassdoor unless it’s something really egregious.

      1. irene adler*

        As a reader of many a Glassdoor review, those responding to the Glassdoor review tend to confirm the review. No matter what they write. Better to not respond -as you wrote.

        For me, “we’re sorry you feel that way” (and similar) just confirms that management is not interested in their employees well-being. Pass.

      2. redflagday701*

        My old company did the same, under the name of the head of HR, and it was so self-evidently absurd that one former employee actually wrote something like “And please give Carol permission to stop responding to these reviews — you all know you’re not going to change anything, and she just sounds pathetic.” It really is astonishing (not to mention disheartening) how many folks seem to think acknowledging criticism but not acting on it is somehow useful.

        1. Caboose*

          Having been on the other side of having to respond to reviews (not on glassdoor, just for retail locations), I would’ve loved if I didn’t have to throw meaningless platitudes at people! But some folks got genuinely annoyed at me for doing it, and it’s like…buddy, I’m making minimum wage to do this, I genuinely do not care if you had a bad time in our stores, and I will happily tell you exactly where you can shove the shoes you bought from us.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I will say there was one reply I saw where honestly I think the store got it just right. The gist was thing that was bought broke a few months after purchase and customer had gone back to store to get it exchanged, and the exchange didn’t happen. Store replied to the complaint that they were sorry to not be able to exchange the item as corporate had made the decision to no longer carry it in stock. Store would gladly refund the purchase price in accordance with the return policy, or if they really needed that item and a refund wouldn’t work here is the customer service contact information for the product manufacturer.

          But the key was I felt that they just replied, agreed the situation was less than ideal, gave options, and then left the decision to the customer. Which is what In-store customer service does all the time.

      3. Lisa B*

        My two cents: I write the responses to Glassdoor reviews for my company (happy to answer questions about what companies actually are/aren’t able to do on GD here or another thread if anyone is ever curious) – I try to keep it constructive and give avenues for people to actually reach out to someone who can help them if that’s possible, but TBH replying to reviews isn’t for the benefit of the reviewer, its for potential candidates to see that we’re responsive and care about righting any wrongs. And we usually ignore the really egregious ones because we dont want to give them the time of day

        1. Le Sigh*

          I’d be really curious what a good response would look like. I think you’re right that people are paying attention to how an employer responds, but my general thought is no response is best (unless it’s libelous info or something). I have rarely seen a response on Glassdoor that didn’t scream, “hmmm, maybe you should have just let this go.” And most of the time, much like reading reviews on Yelp! or Airbnb, one single review won’t sink or swim it for me — I’m really looking for patterns. You can often tell when a customer or employee has an ax to grind (and it’s easier to ignore those) but when the same themes keep popping up (or a company keeps responding in an argumentative or almost hostile way), that tells me something useful!

          1. Lisa B*

            (speaking for my company’s train of thought, not necessarily my own) The pattern you’re looking for is exactly what we’re trying to get in front of. There are things we see semi consistently like “pay low compared to competitors,” “annoying to work with [parent company],” etc that we try to address consistently as well. so when/if a candidate is looking at those reviews and our responses, they’ll see our consistent response of why those things are the way they are (I’m being extremely vague on purpose so please dont think I’m trying to wave away low pay). We’re NEVER argumentative or dismissive and do our best to use the response to open a channel of communication rather than close it. The flip side is when people post things that are untrue or skewed, but not to the level of anything libelous (which we could have removed), we do want to get in front of those with what the actual facts are

            1. Krabby*

              Definitely! I have worked at other places where we responded and it actually went over really well with job candidates. The key is to do it honestly and informatively rather than in a rage. Saying, “We acknowledge that our wages are not competitive with Amazon and other larger tech giants in our area, so we’ve worked hard to ensure our employees have flexibility and an excellent work-life balance to make up for that,” is very different than, “Well maybe we’d pay you more if you didn’t suck so bad at your job.”

              PS, would LOVE to read that article about responding to reviews as well. It’s a fine art, and I’ve only ever seen a few people who can do it well.

    2. Ama*

      Yeah my husband’s employer got a bad Glassdoor review from an employee who actually DID make up a bunch of stuff (he quit in a huff and assumed the company — which at the time was a startup with about a dozen employees– would go under without his brilliance around, when that didn’t happen he tried smearing them on Glassdoor). Their management apparently did consider responding but decided it was in their best interest not to say anything and also instruct the rest of the staff not to respond directly to the guy, their other reviews were positive and no one was chiming in to agree with the guy who was making stuff up so they figured it was clear enough that he had an ax to grind.

  7. Unemployed in Greenland*

    I’m just picturing Amy and Brooke yelling, “Mediocre!!!” like Immortan Joe in “Mad Max: Fury Road.

    I’m glad you have your new job! Ride forever, shiny and chrome!

      1. Galadriel's Garden*

        Now I’m envisioning people leaving the company and screaming “WITNESS ME!!!” on their way out the door on their last day…thank you for this!

  8. sleephard_partynever*

    LW3, don’t do it!!! Grad school is a LOT of work and in many programs you get as much from the non-class networking as you do from class time. PLEASE consider finding something part-time, at least. You could be seriously impacting your own mental health, your success in the grad program, your future career prospects, and the very full-time job you are trying to hold on to.

    1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      I got two masters degrees while working full time, with the correct time management it is doable.

      1. BlueberryFields*

        It’s definitely possible (I’m in the midst of second degree, but I work in higher education so tuition is one of the benefits), but challenging. Full time job matched with 1-2 evening classes per semester is the sweet spot for me.) For LW #3, my main concern would be that their paying job is going to suffer.

        They wrote, “There will be overlap during official working hours and class time. I anticipate some early mornings, evenings, and weekend times to (unofficially) flex my work load and get stuff done.” If I’m their colleague, I don’t really want our collaborative work to be at the whim of their class schedule.

        1. MissM*

          The lack of official blessing to flex your schedule to accommodate classes is concerning. If my boss thinks that I’m at work and I’m unavailable during work hours (especially if it happens repeatedly like every Tuesday/Thursday), there’s going to be some conversations. LW#3, I’d talk with your manager about your plans, especially since there’s nothing that says they can’t decide that your role does need to be in person and you have a lot hinging on that.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Seconded. It depends entirely on the degree programs, the job, and the individual.

        1. Filosofickle*

          Yep. I worked half time in grad school and it was all I could personally handle, but many classmates worked full time (+ little kids even) and they did fine. We did similar amounts of work, but I got to sleep a lot more.

        2. kitryan*

          Yup! I couldn’t have worked an outside job that had any sort of set schedule while in grad school – my costume design program had required attendance at daytime classes (and usually only 1 section so no picking your class times- and the main professor teaching loved his 8am classes!) plus nighttime rehearsals and performances as well as work on building the productions and completing class projects and assignments. There were no regularly available time slots outside of school at all. It would be remotely possible to perhaps do freelance writing assignments or similar, where you can pick and choose when to take jobs (and avoid tech week) and are just meeting deadlines, not requiring much scheduled interaction.
          Instead we had work-study assignments that were 1/3 time and since they were thru our departments, they were fairly flexible in accommodating school conflicts (and were only about 12-15 hrs a week). Also, the program was for 3 years, so too long to power through that kind of over commitment.
          I imagine if most of your program’s specific time commitment is in scheduled classes and there’s options to select specific sections for those classes, so you have some control over your schedule, then you’d have at least a shot at making it work, especially if you had just 2 years to manage it for.

    2. Glad Grad*

      This is the job where there’s a lot of down time, and they have spent that several months organizing their time and testing it out. Some people aren’t privileged enough to not have to work full time while going to grad school. It is a lot of work, but sometimes we gotta do a lot of work.

      1. BlueberryFields*

        I agree–I’d never go to grad school full time/without a job. Couldn’t afford it. But the way the letter writer framed it, it doesn’t necessarily seem like they have “official” flexibility. If they’re flexing their hours “unofficially” like they said, they might end up without a job when their employer finds out. Looks like they work at a university and (based on my general experience working in higher ed), that is usually a 8-4 or 9-5 sort of job, if you’re staff.

        1. BlueberryFields*

          Forgot to add–down time now doesn’t mean there will always be down time. Just something for LW to think about.

          1. OP3*

            Yes to both of these, I’m aware of both of these concerns. I may be too optimistic but hoping things stay as they are and if I need to make adjustments I can.

            1. KTB1*

              I think you’re going to be just fine. I went to grad school full time, worked full time, and planned a sizeable wedding in the middle of all that. You learn how to strike a balance and stay very, very organized.

              But do learn from one of my mistakes and make time for exercise/fresh air. I should have done more of that!!

      2. Pikachu*

        The issue is not that OP wants to do it. Nothing wrong with that. The issue is that it’s not clear whether they intend to tell their employer about how they will flex their hours and will even be unavailable during core work hours to attend class. If she keeps this a secret from her employer, they could fire her.

        I don’t know what kind of job OP has, but if they have to say “Sorry, I can’t come to that meeting during normal work hours” because they are in class, someone is going to want to know why. Then they’ll find out that OP is taking class while getting paid to work and has been hiding it. It’s just not a good place to be, especially when the job itself is so critical to keeping things afloat. A little transparency will go a long way here.

        1. H2*

          Yes, this. The issue isn’t that the OP wants to be a full-time grad student and a full-time employee. The issue is doing those things at the exact literal SAME TIME. Both enterprises are going to expect full attention. Some thing I haven’t seen anybody else mention is that graduate programs are often quite intolerant of absences. It’s not the same as undergrad and they’re not going to be on board with a student missing classes because of work.

          Otherwise, as a lot of people have said, it really depends on the degree program, the job, and the person. Most PhD programs are going to expect a student’s full attention. At least in stem, it’s very common for PhD programs to not admit students unless they are going to be given a stipend for this very reason. But then other degree programs are more flexible and set up for working students. It just really depends.

          1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

            As someone who recently finished a PhD, I’m surprised so many people are talking about working full-time while doing one. This is in STEM, but our contracts forbid PhD students from taking on *any* outside work (including tutoring!) without explicit permission from their advisor. It would be unheard of for someone to have an outside full-time job- according to the graduate school at my university, a 56-68 hour week is the minimum expected for PhD candidates (20 hours of teaching plus 3-4 hours per credit hour; 12 credit hours are required). We do/did make okay-ish money for the area though.

            1. Anon.*

              Non-stem: working was forbidden by the terms of the admission and teaching stipend with the exception of a few hours a week of on-campus tutoring. I know a few people who worked weekend jobs. Unlike many stem folks, most of us just did our own completely independent work on the weekends, so that sort of worked. That said, this was a traditional academic field, and we wanted to be academics, and grad students in the field are usually pretty anxious and depressed (whether diagnosed or not). In other fields that are not traditional academic fields but are more professional (say, leadership, administration, education, advanced nursing), I’ve known a lot of people do them while working and it is even expected.

    3. Esmeralda*

      I worked a couple of part time jobs while in grad school (so, close to 40 hours). It was *hard*. But ya know, the rent’s gotta be paid, groceries don’t magically get left on the doorstep by the kindly food fairies, and health care was not and is not free (USA). Some books have to be purchased and work in archives meant travelling to archives (still does, to some extent, not everything is scanned and available online).

      I agree, it can have big costs to do this. But lots of people do it. Some because they want to, and many because they have to.

    4. Hard First Name :)*

      Other than the doing school while physically at work I’m not understanding what the issue is here. I did full time (22 credit hours a semester) undergrad while working 45-50 hours a week with a toddler and now doing an MBA program working the same amount of hours. I don’t personally recommend most people doing more than 15-17 credit hours while working full time but I’m a crazy person and just really wanted to get it done fast.

      Does it mean you’ll be busy, ya sure. Also probably won’t sleep as much as normal. But people generally know their own motivation and commitment level. Plus, everything is temporary. Most grad school programs are 1.5 to 2 years. So I usually structure it in my mind like this is temporary, I can do anything for x amount of time.

      1. H2*

        MBA programs are often set up to be more flexible for students who are working. It’s so common for people to go back and get an MBA after they have been working a while that it just makes sense. But many other graduate programs are not that way AT ALL.

        1. Hard First Name :)*

          Ahhh totally agree there,
          didn’t think about that when posting. When I was deciding between an MBA and a Biology/genetics graduate program this was a factor. (Leaned toward the mba for other reasons, thanks science deniers/covid for crushing my dreams).

          Still think it was doable, a lot of places now offer part time graduate programs for this reason, but the more exclusive/top programs I found did not. Thankfully my work is cool with flexibility if need be but I can see how that would be difficult if they only offered the program full time at the school you wanted to go to.

  9. Toptoast*

    Amy’s last name wouldn’t be “Baking Company,” would it? Because I am getting really similar vibes from that whole crazy story!

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        I think it’s referring to an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s show (not Hell’s Kitchen but the one where he helps struggling restaurant owners).

        1. Lime green Pacer*

          Yes indeed. They are out of business now, but for a while the TripAdvisor reviews were an ongoing source of entertainment.

  10. BlueberryFields*

    LW #3, does your employer know that you’re going to be in a full time program? I don’t imagine you’re required to share, but you saying, “I anticipate some early mornings, evenings, and weekend times to (unofficially) flex my work load and get stuff done” made me hesitate a little bit. Is the “unofficial” flex time clear to your colleagues and/or supervisor? When you are in classes, do your colleagues know or are you just going to block off time on your calendar during the workday? You just don’t want to end up in a situation where it’s perceived that you’re hiding what is basically another full time job from your colleagues/employer. None of that may apply to you, but it just made me wonder.

    1. Ali G*

      Yeah that stood out to me too. We have a number of fully remote employees, but they are required to work the majority of their hours within our core hours. I do not think I could flex my workday to accommodate full time classes and still make my core hours/regular mandatory meetings.

    2. StlBlues*

      I had this exact same interpretation. If LW3 is at all hiding the fact that they’ll be in school full time while working, that’s not good. Even if work was getting done, as that employee’s manager, I’d be REALLY ticked if and when I found out. It’s deceitful if hidden (which maybe it isn’t and my comprehension of this is incorrect!)

    3. Jack Straw*

      Yeah, the idea that you’re “unofficially” flexing your hours (assuming that means unknown and unapproved by your boss) to complete grad school work during your real job working hours isn’t the best idea.

    4. TimeTravlR*

      We have a flexible enough policy that this might work but it needs to be done officially! OP#3 please don’t think it will all be fine. The only way to be sure is to talk to your boss about flexing time!

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      This. I don’t think that doing full-time work and full-time grad school is totally nuts and am considering doing it myself, but the “unofficially” flexing hours thing caught my eye as well. If you’re supposed to be working but you’re in class instead and without your employers knowledge, that’s a problem. If your boss isn’t aware of the flexing, then this is the sort of thing that gives remote work a bad name and makes employers think they can’t trust people they can’t see.

      I had to flex my work hours around my grad school classes, and my boss was totally cool about it… but we did discuss it in advance. I have an employee who is on a truly wonky schedule to accommodate their grad school classes right now, and communicating their schedule and planning around it have been a big part of the transition plan to this new schedule.

    6. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yeah, the unofficial piece of this seems like it could be a serious problem. “Flextime” isn’t something that all offices offer and some don’t offer it for specific union contracts or another limitations. At my place of work, flextime, for certain positions, would put us in violation of our union contract unless we get a written exemption. Doing it without that would be something I would have to let someone go over, even if I didn’t want to do so.

  11. Former Academic*

    LW #3 also do check to make sure your school & program do not have a policy that prohibits students from working full time while they are in full-time graduate school. I don’t know how common policies like this are where you’re studying, but where I am (North-America) schools I know have a policy prohibiting this, especially in situations where the program is funded (ie you’re receiving funding, or a tuition waiver, or a stipend — even it the money just goes to pay your tuition). I think it’s a bit more common for PhD programs than for Master’s to have this policy. If you win grant funding, that too will come with stricter rules about how much you can work.

    Schools are generally open to people keeping their full time jobs if they pursue graduate studies part time, and are expecting most students will work part-time and study full-time. In your case, you might want to know what the policy is so that you know what to say / what not to say should your job come up in conversation. Since your job is kind of part time anyway there’s a chance the workload is manageable, but you don’t want to say the wrong thing to the wrong person and wreck the set-up!

    1. CB212*

      It really ranges, though; my [excellent] city university in the USA understands that students have jobs and kids, and absolutely doesn’t expect anyone to quit their job to get their MA. Definitely good to know your own program’s rules, of course! But especially at the masters level, a lot of professionals will be doing the degree and their career concurrently.

    2. Esmeralda*

      My grad school had that policy. I laughed. And asked, are you going to pay my rent, utilities, insurance, health care, food? They said, you have a stipend. I said, I’ve lived on not much money, but this works out to well below a living wage. Do you have a sample budget for living on this stipend, because I’m genuinely curious…

      I just made sure my second part-time job was off campus.

  12. I should really pick a name*

    LW#1 Please drop the idea that telling a manager that a coworker yelled at you is causing drama.
    They are causing drama. You are passing along the information so management can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      The person in question doesn’t work there anymore (sounds like was let go). So there’s nothing to prevent – at least not with that guy.

  13. Out & About*

    Not only will the glassdoor reviews help potential employees pass up on Amy and Brooke but I’m sure during a pre interview research session that blog will pop up as a nice bright red flag of confirmation to back up the reviews.

    1. Nayo*

      Oh, absolutely. Especially considering how new the business is. There isn’t going to be a whole lot of online presence to hide a blog post written by the business owners themselves!

    2. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

      I found the blog post and they actually say in it that they plan to proactively send a link to the post to prospective hires. No googling necessary.

  14. RJ*

    OP#2 – it sounds as if Amy/Brooke’s company practically has an expiration date on it. One of my previous employers took a similar attitude towards Glassdoor reviews – until 75% of the department left, myself included. When all reviews include common toxic work descriptions, the problem isn’t disgruntled employees. It’s the company. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well and no longer have to worry about them.

    1. Out & About*

      My old company took the same approach of “disgruntled employees” when glassdoor became filled with diversity & inclusion complaints. In my exit interview when I stated D&I as a factor in my exit they responded with *surprised Pikachu face* .

  15. Tobias Funke*

    OP2, I cheered so hard. I love letting people who are doing bananas things out themselves as completely bananas. Not my job to save you from yourself. Twice in the last two weeks I have had the choice to pop off at someone or let the universe deal with them. The latter worked out nicely both times.

  16. Debbie Downer*

    I hate to be a Debbie Downer but regarding #3 my now husband (then boyfriend) did grad school full time while working full time. He had ‘overlap’ between work time and school classes like the OP mentioned in their letters. His work fired him when they found out he was doing school on work time. There had also been performance issues on his part because work was getting neglected for school stuff. No way should OP #3 be doing school stuff on work time.

  17. Kate*

    Hi OP #3!
    I got 2 Master’s degrees while working full time through most of the programs. However (a BIG however!) both graduate programs were specifically designed to accommodate that. The first was an executive program that met Friday nights and Saturdays. The second was a professional MBA program with classes on Monday and Wednesday nights. Have you looked at programs with that kind of model? I did end up leaving the full time jobs I was in right before graduation, more by choice, to focus on my internships/capstones. I highly recommend considering a program with a professional or executive cohort model, if possible. Good luck!

  18. H.C.*

    OP3: Seconding others’ word of caution about overlapping grad school into your work time “unofficially”; I did both full-time too, but the graduate program I enrolled in is meant for working professionals & thus primarily evening/weekend classes.

  19. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

    LW#3 I’m not sure you fully grasped Alison’s original advice. You seem really keen to made decisions about your work schedule and availability without talking to your boss. It’s not clear that the schedule you want would be an issue, but not talking about and assuming you have this flexibility “unofficially” is where you are likely to get into trouble or come across as if you have really questionable judgment.

    1. Field*

      Yes, exactly. I was honestly wondering with OP3’s response about moving to a different city if they’d cleared that with HR (if in a different state/US based). It seems like it could go wrong pretty easily and OP had only been at job a couple of months back in early 2021.

  20. Goopins*

    A real bummer about that dude in LW1’s letter. I wonder how many other people had to have terrible experiences with this guy that could have been avoided if the first incident had been reported?

    1. Dream Jobbed*

      OP only left for a week. Doubt they could have saved too many people the pain of dealing with anger boy. He was either rude to a lot of people, or simply the wrong one. (Maybe a combination.) But if it only took a week to see the real him, it’s all on him.

    2. Observer*

      I wonder how many other people had to have terrible experiences with this guy that could have been avoided if the first incident had been reported?

      Zero, I would say. Because even if the OP had reported it, it’s highly unlikely that he would have been gone by the time she got back from a week long trip with only her report of this one incident to go on.

      Which doesn’t negate what Allison said. It just makes your attempt to shame and blame the victim even more gross.

      1. banoffee pie*

        And if she had reported it, no doubt some people would blame her for ‘getting him fired’ when ‘it wasn’t that big a deal’. Gah. Seems to me some people wait to see what you did, and then say you should have done the opposite!!

  21. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    I’m secretly wishing some of OP2’s former colleagues send the article to Joshua Fluke, he’ll tear Amy and Brooke to shreds.

  22. OhNoYouDidn't*

    LW#2: Did you end up leaving the job on your resume? Did you get a letter in writing confirming your experience at bad company as Alison suggested?

  23. Feral Fairy*

    For LW3, if you’re expected to be working & available during official work hours, I think it’s really risky to be in class on the sly while you’re technically “at work”. what happens if your boss calls you while you’re in a seminar or schedules a meeting during your class? Especially if you’ve talked to your boss about how you have a lot of down time and now all of a sudden you’re unavailable during work hours, it will raise some red flags. I was in a masters program for a brief amount of time before leaving due to major health issues and attendance was a much bigger deal in grad school than undergrad. If you missed 3 classes in a course, you automatically failed the course- regardless of the circumstances behind why you missed the class.

    While it seems like you’ve already made up your mind, I’d strongly urge you to make contingency plans and also see if your program has a part time option or if you can take a lighter course load. It makes sense to me why you wouldn’t want to ask your employer for permission to work different hours on the days you have class because it might mean them making you part time. The risk of getting fired if you get caught leaves you with no job though so definitely think everything through.

    A lot of people do work full time while being in grad school full time, but most of them can do so because they take courses that don’t meet during their work hours or because their employer explicitly gives them flexibility around when their classes are. At the end of the day you might realize that it isn’t working and you have to pick staying in school or keeping your job, so it’s a good idea to think about what you’ll do it that situation does arise.

  24. DrunkAtAWedding*

    Re LW3, I just read an article on ‘overworking’, that is, people who discretely work multiple jobs from home. Not in the normal poor-people way, where you just have two jobs and work twice as many hours, but in a more ‘professional’ (as in class, work, education level, not as in attitude) level. The sort of job where you can automate tasks as you get more practiced and so you can do your work in fewer hours when you’ve been there longer.

    Obviously, that’s not what LW3 is doing, their letter just reminded me of the article. I entered uni a few years ago, as a mature student, and I worked then. During my first year – which was an Access course, which basically covers the 1-2 years of education directly prior to uni for mature students – I kept my original job, but with part-time hours. Luckily, I was living with my ex at the time, who was rather better off than I was, or I could never have managed. Even then, my ‘part-time’ hours consisted of two 12 hour days, a full Saturday shift with a late start every other week (because I was volunteering) and a few hours on other evenings. This was in a call centre, so I couldn’t work from home and I couldn’t flex the hours at all. After a few months, I had to cut out the few hours in the evenings because it was doing my head in, being away from home for up to 14 hours a day most days. I’d go to my college classes, then study in the library for a few hours, then catch the bus into work, then wake up and do it over again. When I first did the calculations, I didn’t think I’d be able to afford to do that, but I had to make it work somehow. I hope it’ll be easier for LW3. I definitely would have found it easier if I’d been able to work from home and had more flexibility in my hours.

    I didn’t work in my first year of actual uni, but every year after that I worked as a student ambassador. Because that job was through my specific school, they understood about the uni schedule and the hours were only part-time. That got harder in my final year because I was running lab demos for the applicants. That’s not to do with the hours though, that’s just because I found it stressful to be ‘performing’ for 2 hours in a row, even though I enjoyed it, and it made it harder to do any work on my dissertation. For those years, I’d planned my monthly expenses to be below my student loan amount even without a part-time job, because I’d realised I couldn’t work too many hours while studying without stressing myself out. Luckily, I moved to start my uni course, so I was able to live somewhere with a cheaper rent.

  25. LF*

    LW1, it sounds like you’ve got a particular issue about “causing drama”. Please know that when someone is so out of line as Joe was, THEY are the ones causing drama, not you. You have every right to push back against their BS, report them up the chain, or what ever else you need to do to get them to stop.

    Joe has already broken the social contract. The drama has already been caused, and it wasn’t by you. Please don’t feel you have to sacrifice your own wellbeing in an attempt to keep the peace.

    See also: the missing stair

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