update: should I explain I quit on my second day because my coworker was overwhelmingly difficult?

Remember the letter-writer who quit on her second day because her coworker was horrible (and who, among other problems, gave her 45 minutes of training how to switch on a standard light switch) and kept getting approached by board members who wanted to know the real reason she left? Here’s the update.

After I read your response, I promised myself I’d say something if I saw one of the board members. Didn’t have to wait long because I seem to be bumping into them everywhere (two of their spouses work with me). After talking with two separate board members, I have a huge amount of gratitude for the bullet I dodged.

First, I bumped into the woman who conducted my interview, we’ll call her Board Member 1. Board Member 1 is in her 60s. We spoke briefly and I think I know why Amy gets away with stuff. (For reference since I didn’t offer it at first, I’m in my late 20s, Amy is in her late 50s.)

I walked Board Member 1 through Amy’s greatest hits, including sharing negative stories about the board and instructors, the light switch thing, and her godawful customer service. I told her about Amy’s oversharing without relaying details, but that the content was inappropriate and made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable. She immediately sang Amy’s praises and said that Amy had told the board I refused to pay attention and was on my phone the whole time. Board Member 1 then went into a tangent about my generation being lazy and not wanting to work hard and always needing safe spaces. I was speechless.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I thanked my lucky stars that I had enough self-preservation skills to get the hell out of there.

I also ran into the younger board member who asked me about Amy’s behavior. We’ll call him Board Member 2, who is much closer to my age. I spilled all the tea and left nothing out, including my panic attack and the conversation with Board Member 1. Nothing I said shocked him but he was obviously upset. He said I lasted longer than the previous employee, who walked out after an hour. I don’t think I have a big enough yikes for that, and I’m also not thrilled that they all had an inkling Amy was like this and just let me go into the apeshit ball pit with no support. He asked me to write up my experience with Amy, including my conversation with Board Member 1 and whatever I was comfortable sharing regarding my reasons for leaving, and send it to him for next month’s board meeting. At least I don’t feel like diving under a rock when I see the other board members.

Mystery solved. Good riddance. I have a better new job that doesn’t give me panic attacks. I do have half a mind to send the board my therapy copays for reimbursement though.

{ 396 comments… read them below }

      1. Stormfeather*

        Agreed. If nothing else, it might undercut what you’re saying about Amy, if you suddenly come across as having bad enough judgement to actually send the board members these, unasked.

    1. Lolo9090*

      I may also need to forward the copay from my eye doctor. You won’t believe how much she charged to reposition my eyes from the back of my head after I rolled them too far reading Board Member 1’s response

        1. AKchic*

          Or my bills since I’m fairly sure my head popped off and is rolling on the floor, my gut busted from laughing hysterically at BM1’s ridiculousness, and I may need fresh clothes since I may have had some bladder leakage during my laugh attack.

  1. ZSD*

    Wow. Congratulations on the new job! I’m so glad Board Member #2 was receptive to your comments. If you have spare time, could you please send us a second update if you learn how the board reacts to the write-up you’ve provided?

    1. Momma Bear*

      I figured Amy had to have someone protecting her to still be there. Not surprised to find that was true. I’m glad OP was able to talk to Board Member 2 as well. I agree that it is a bullet dodged. Sorry OP had to go through that, but glad they landed elsewhere. Sounds like Board Member 1 has a bias against younger people in the workforce. For starters.

        1. DJ Abbott*

          Yes, I was just thinking something similar. That level of denial indicates something deeper. Maybe an inappropriate relationship, maybe board member one is an obsessive nut.

      1. MarsJenkar*

        It’s for reasons like this that I feel age, period, should be a protected class (with the usual caveats for minors), not just ages *above* a certain threshold.

    2. BRR*

      Yeah I was getting worried when I only read through board member #1 (I didn’t want the update to beI spoke up and it failed”). Hopefully board member #2 is able to get done what needs to happen.

    3. allathian*

      Yeah, that’s definitely one update I’m looking forward to. No wonder Amy’s still there with a board member like #1…

  2. anonymous 5*

    OP, I’m pretty sure you didn’t just dodge a bullet; you dodged enough cannons for the finale of the 1812 overture!

    1. Pipe Organ Guy*

      I’ll go further. You dodged the cannon shots and musket fire in “Wellington’s Victory” (a splendid potboiler by Beethoven).

      1. Archie Goodwin*

        I feel compelled to add to this that you dodged the rifle volley from Malcolm Arnold’s “Grand, Grand Overture”.

        (If you do not know this piece, look it up on YouTube – it’s a hoot and a half.)

    2. I can never decide on a lasting name*

      And OP can celebrate with as many champagne pops as in Lumbye’s Champagne Galop!
      (link in reply)

        1. Philosophia*

          Thank you! (although I winced at the sight of streamers that might be landing on instruments) I wasn’t acquainted with this composer.

          1. Meep*

            I know someone like this. She never went to college (by choice) and barely graduated high school (again by choice – she IS smart, she just preferred moving out with her football boyfriend at 17 over finishing school). She is now 60-years-old, divorced, lost her $500k house, and has no savings (which is large because she spends it on clothes). All these twenty-somethings fresh out of school are spoiled entitled brats because they are making $60k+ out of the gate. You know… Ignoring the fact that they have twice that in student debt…

            1. MissBaudelaire*

              I hear a lot of “Kids these days wants all this money for their first job?”

              “Ooohhh, you mean they want to be able to afford food and housing!”

        1. Tiny Soprano*

          Boardie 1 has probably forgotten that most of us millenials are at the mid-30s-with-kids stage and thinks zoomers are millenials.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Actually the oldest of the Millennials turn 40 this year……..

            But yeah – Board Member 1 is why unhinged Amy is still around and tormenting people. Hopefully Board Member 2 is able to get the rest to see that for the good of the greater organization Amy needs to go…

            1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

              Well, given what little we saw of Board Member 1, she’s likely to assume that Board Member 2 is just one of those lazy “kids these days” like the OP and won’t pay much attention to his feedback. Hopefully, SOMEONE will eventually be able to get Amy out of there before she brings down the whole organization!

          2. Greg*

            Also, as a millennial, what drives me nuts more than anything is that…literally every older generation has thought the younger generation is lazy and entitled. Literally every one. Are there lazy and entitled millennials? Sure! Are there lazy and entitled boomers/Xers/etc? Yuuuuuuup!

            Also, we never asked for a crappy plastic trophy to make us feel better.

            1. Anonny*

              The ‘entitled millenial/z-kid’ trope is even weirder when you’re that age and spend time in those spaces because like… wistful dreams are things like wanting a flat with a separate bedroom and no roomates and decent lighting, or a big house, but with all their friends and some pets, or if they win the lottery, a house shaped like a gamecube and being able to pay off theirs and their friends’ debts. For the boomer/early-X generations, the flat would have been a first or second residence, not something to strive for when you make it big.

      1. Kal*

        Confirmation bias means that anyone who can’t handle extended times with Amy is clearly just lazy and unwilling to work. Its amazing how much the brain can sweep under the rug when you don’t want to accept the logical conclusion.

        1. ShanShan*

          It’s not just confirmation bias. It’s active and carefully planned propaganda designed to undermine what is now a huge proportion of the workforce so that employers can mistreat them more easily.

        2. Tiny Soprano*

          Confirmation bias bordering on delusional thinking, with a big ole side helping of cognitive dissonance.

      2. Art3mis*

        I had a coworker that drove me to quit, but I lasted almost a year, since I didn’t have other options. Our mutual boss and her boss thought that even though Linda was difficult to work with and everyone in the office hated her, that she still got the work done and I just needed to put up with her. She would leave important steps out of training and complain when I wasn’t “getting it” and of course the three of them thought this was all my fault. So it doesn’t surprise me that Board Member 1 thinks that Amy is just fine.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          I always love when places keep someone that no one likes and is difficult to work with. “They’re the only one who gets anything done!”

          Did you ever think that might be because they drive anyone else decent away?

        2. FrenchCusser*

          I had a boss that actively told me to do things one way, and then pointed out my ‘mistakes’ when I did them that way. I was supposed to do them the opposite way from what she told me.

          I lasted less than a month at that job (I knew the person who replaced me and she lasted 3 days).

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I once was four weeks into a job (that I was told in interviews was a new position) when someone said “You’re doing great, the last two people only lasted two weeks each!”

      I thought that was bad but an HOUR is incredible.

      1. Sarah55555*

        Last year I was convinced to take a position in-office with a company – very much sold as lots of room for a promotion, great opportunity, etc. When I got there I learned that I would be the 4th person in 2 years to hold that job. By the end of my first week I had an inkling why – between my incompetent boss and the inappropriate lunchtime conversation in the middle of the room every day (“I’m not saying I agree with the white supremacists, but sometimes I do think that people are trying to start a race war”) this place was BAD. Finally after about 6 weeks I just never came back to work one day.

        1. STAT!*

          I agree the white supremacists are trying to start a race war … guess that’s not what they meant tho’

          1. FrenchCusser*

            ‘Race wouldn’t be a problem if black people would just know their place.’

            Something a coworker once said to me. I reamed her out, but good, and in front of witnesses.

            1. JG Obscura*

              I would have dropped one heck of an f bomb. I wouldn’t be able to help it. Just automatically out of my mouth “Are you f’ing serious?”

      2. Penny Parker*

        I once was about two weeks into a job when I was told that no one had ever lasted more than a week or so. I was an LTE and the regular workers wondered if I was going to stay. Um… yes… I love this job. It was the mid 1980s, and I could not type. The job was as a file clerk at the District Attorney’s Child Support Division, and all of the files were on paper. I had an immense background in library work, and loved filing. I also knew how to get it done. My supervisor wondered once if it really helped me to alphabetize the files before I did the actual filing. Um… what other way would it be done? Apparently the other workers quit because they didn’t know to alphabetize in advance and kept running around the room like chickens about to get their heads chopped off. So, that was a job which really worked for me but no one else ever stayed long at all.

    2. Dramatic Intent To Flounce*

      Truly mindboggling, yeah.

      I hope for Board Member 2’s sake that the rest of the board is more reasonable than 1 and Amy.

      1. Moxie*

        If the organization has any grants, Board Member #2 need to let the rest of the board this kind of situation could threaten current and future grants if funding organizations learn about the crazy.

        1. Dancing Otter*

          Agreed. Granting agencies don’t like to hear about age-ism, or any other -ism, with their money.
          And if Amy is antagonizing customers / clients, don’t look to make up the lost funding from small donors.

  3. Hills to Die on*

    Ooh, board member number 1 sucks! But that makes more sense now. I wasn’t sure whether OP wrote up what board member #1 said. I sure would have though. Any inkling I may have had to stay out of it would have been gone after that. It sure sounds like BM#1 thinks badly of OP now and I would have wanted to defend myself.

    I hope there’s another update coming!

      1. JSPA*

        yeah, this has all the hallmarks of an epic slow moving board power struggle. Those grind on, and leave reputations in their wake. (Even / especially when it’s unpaid, and there’s nothing but reputations, egos and “the right to write the history” and to fulfill one’s vision, at stake.)

        Good thing OP can leave the entire experience off their resumé, given how short it was.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I am optimistic for BM2. There’s a reason he wants it in writing. He’s going to do something. He may/may not get results but he is going to run at it and see what happens.

        If I were on that board, I would work toward having that board member removed from the board. When we rewrote out bylaws, I was stunned to see there was no mechanism or guidance for removing board members in the bylaws. We fixed that. I would not recommend that anyone serve on a board where there is no provision for calling out bad behaviors from board members.

        I guess we will never find out what happens, but it would be interesting to know.

    1. Pants*

      Right?? I can’t even imagine an hour. And that Boardy 1 went into a “kids your age” lecture…. I think I’d have torched that bridge with my snarky mouth right there.

      1. redheadk*

        We need to start meeting “kids your age” with “people your age who categorically refuse to take responsibility for their actions.”

        1. quill*

          I’ve always had a smart mouth, so… I have done it, to mixed results. (Doesn’t hurt that these people also seem to think that my 43 year old cousin, me, and my 15 year old cousin are all “kids these days” because apparently millennials have never aged past 25 (the oldest were 30 when I started high school…) and every future generation is ALSO millennials.)

            1. JJ*

              True story: I, an elder millennial, recently referenced Gen X to an older (70-ish) friend and she really had no idea what I was talking about.

              As a middle child, I hear your cries for recognition.

              1. Dream Jobbed*

                Personally, as a Gen Xer, I’m just happy to stay out of the generational wars. Let the Baby Boomers and Millennials fight it out, and we’ll pick over the bodies for the booty. :)

                1. AnonEMoose*

                  Anyone else picturing the dragon and the giant fighting on the Storm Coast in “Dragon Age: Inquisition”?

                2. Pants*

                  Absolutely. We just sit back and quietly watch, smirking and rolling our eyes. It’s kinda the most Gen X thing we could ever do.

              2. Anonny*

                I mean, I find Gen-X to be a less useful concept, because on one end you’ve got people who were born in the late 60s and were raised with things like government regulation, corporate taxes, and proper infrastructure, and on the other end you’ve got those born in the early 80s who were raised when the prevailing political thought was ‘that giant A-hole from C-suite should run the country!’

                Like, there’s a very broad scope of experience there.

                1. MM*

                  I feel the same way about Millennials; I’m middle-to-elder, and in many ways identify more with the Gen X stereotype (since none of these ideas actually describe everyone they’re attached to–plenty of Boomers are poor! None of this means anything at all outside a few countries!) than I do with, say, younger Millennials who don’t remember a world before 9/11. All the generational cohorts are fundamentally made-up constructs invented for marketing purposes that don’t necessarily describe much about people’s dispositions and lived experiences. Personally I wish we could abandon the whole system rather than keep pretending there’s some obvious and essential difference between someone born in 2000 and someone born in 2001. People are born every day! The world marches on! The teams are fake!

          1. FrenchCusser*

            In Baby Boomers’ defense, there’s a couple of things you need to keep in mind:
            1) we were all beaten as children
            2) we used to put mercury compounds on our boo-boos

      2. Liz*

        Yes, BM1 really gets my back up, too. Reminds me of an old boss I had who complained that “you kids today can’t spell/type properly because of spellcheckers”. No, I couldn’t use the touchscreen because of autism-related fine motor difficulties. Way to be ableist and ageist all in one! I quit after 3 weeks but should have gone sooner. Also I was 32, but that made me a “kid” apparently.

    2. HigherEdAdminista*

      The fact that multiple people have short notice up and left this position and this board member is still thinking it must be a problem with lazy kids today… yikes.

      I guess Amy must be really fun to hang out with for Board Member #1 to keep overlooking all this stuff.

      1. quill*

        Oh, I think it’s less that either of them has fun than that board member #1 is just amy with a slightly more operational verbal filter.

      2. All the words*

        Obviously if they’re ALL doing it it’s clearly a generational problem and not an Amy problem at all. /s

        I’ve had meetings that went like that Board member 1 meeting. As soon as I realize that’s what it is I apologize for having wasted their time, thank them for seeing me and get the hell out of there. It’s the worst, demoralizing, paranoid (did I just paint a target on my back?) making experience.

  4. AskJeeves*

    Woooooow. Thanks for updating, OP! Makes a lot of sense that Amy is being protected by a Board Member who thinks she can do no wrong, despite running off multiple new hires in record time. I hope Board Member 2 has enough power to make change before things Amy takes this entire organization down with her inappropriate behavior and lying (!).

    1. Heidi*

      I was wondering if Board Member 1 was Amy’s cousin or something. Even when the first letter came around, I was wondering if someone was protecting Amy – she sounded so awful it didn’t make sense that anyone would keep her around. I’m glad OP is better. I’m not so optimistic about the organization. Even just within this blog, these kinds of businesses seem to fall apart a lot.

      1. JSPA*

        Her cousin, her neighbor, her her social rescue / charity case, her protegée, her in-law, her Big Discovery, her kid’s ex-babysitter, her own old boss, someone who’s on another board with her…the possibilities are endless!

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      Yup. It’s not that everyone already had an inkling about Amy. BM2 clearly did, but BM1 thinks she walks on water. This is a different sort of dysfunction from everyone suspecting what was going on, but ignoring it. The good news is that this sort of dysfunction has better potential for correction, but I wouldn’t want to be in the middle while it is happening.

      1. Amaranth*

        If BM#1 is a long-timer or has influence in the community, then whatever BM#2 says may be pushed to the side. However, it might end up with BM#2 bailing for a nonprofit where they make good business decisions as well.

        1. Red5*

          Agreed, Amaranth. I think since BM#2 asked the OP to provide her experience in writing, I bet he(?) has an uphill battle countering BM#1 to the rest of the board.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Ooo, really good idea. That way if Amy is kept there is a record of what this board has decided to keep – and the objection of the board member reading this account into record as well.

      2. Sara without an H*

        A lot depends on the internal politics of the board. If most members are serving largely for social purposes and/or were invited in by BM1, then Amy’s immediate future is probably secure. If, on the other hand, a significant number of the board members are serving from commitment to the organization and/or are becoming uneasy at the way things are going, then BM2 may succeed in forcing changes through.

        But, like you, I really wouldn’t want to be in the middle while this goes on. Factional squabbling is only fun to watch from a safe distance.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I’m really wishing that we could get follow up from the board meeting.
      Board member 2 to the group: here are the issues with amy I’d like to address based on the experience of our last hire:
      Board member 1: jumps in with Amy’s side.
      B2: to continue, light switch type story.
      B1: and she was on her phone….young people bashing
      B2: Amy’s inappropriate stories.
      B1: employee can’t relate to anyone older
      B2: repeats what Amy actually said.
      drumroll, board realizes that Amy is a problem BECAUSE of board member 1

      1. Yessica Haircut*

        Here’s hoping that the rest of the board aren’t just board member 1 clones, which is also a distinct possibility.

    4. The Prettiest Curse*

      Alas, I think the most likely scenario here is that anyone wanting the organization to be more functional will have to wait for Amy and all the board members enabling the apeshit ball pit to either retire or die.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Very likely. I’ve been in a lot of situations where nothing could be done until Somebody Retired.

    1. Baska*

      Often when something is SO far gone, it’s either a manager problem or a board problem. Employees don’t become this level of problem employee without someone higher up than them enabling it.

        1. Run mad; don't faint*

          This is true. The board of the non-profit I worked for a long time ago would turn up before the fundraisers, expecting changes to be made, all of which showed they had very little idea of what we actually did.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          Yeah, ours thought that our archival department literally had nothing to do if there weren’t any researchers in. Like . . . they were just sitting there twiddling their thumbs.

          The archives fill a 10,000-square-foot warehouse. There is endless processing work to be done.

        3. noncommital pseudonym*

          Completely accurate. We need a change in how Non-profits are managed, because Boards are worse than useless.

    2. Why isn't it Friday?*

      Exactly. This isn’t even an Amy problem at this point – although she is obviously hugely problematic. It’s the Board that keeps enabling her.

    3. hayling*

      I worked for a non-profit with a very hands-off board. Our CEO was a drunk a-hole who would get sh*itfaced at the holiday party every year and give a long, incoherent speech to the entire company and their guests. Someone finally complained to the board, and their response was to cancel the holiday party and give everyone a gift card instead. Clearly the problem was the *party*, not the CEO.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        One time at NonProfit job, a board member called at 4:30 on Friday and no one was there (because we always left at 4:00 on Fridays). He knew this. He’d been on the board for a long time and he totally knew this. But no, someone had to be there to take his call. So they told us we had to stay until 5:00 on Fridays. Guess what? He never called on a Friday again during my tenure but we still had to stay even if there was nothing going on.

        These were CEOs of very large companies so of course they could just snap their evil greed dragon elitist fingers and get their way. >:(

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      It seems more like a board-members-not-agreeing problem. The question is just how many of them feel like member 1 and how many of them feel like member 2.

    5. STAT!*

      My husband joined the board of a community organisation where he discovered a couple of Amy-Board Member 1 type situations going on. He and another board member convinced the board to implement a review by an outside consultancy. Having an external, neutral party present a pretty damning report was the turning point. The report provided trustworthy evidence that cut through the gossip, half-truths, lies and evasions of all the guilty parties, and made it impossible for the board not to take action finally.

  5. Homebody Houseplant*

    Wow so not only is Amy woefully incompetent to the point of being an actively harmful presence, she has the absolute audacity to try to damage your professional reputation by making up outright lies about your workplace conduct? What a gem. Board Member 1 is getting some serious side eye, they don’t sound plugged in or grouned at all either.

    1. Observer*

      Baord member #1 is beyond “side eye.” They are beyond incompetent and totally bigoted. #2 is the one who is getting “side eye” from me. I mean he KNEW that the prior employee lasted a whole hour, and did NOTHING about it. Didn’t even have the sense to tell the OP this afterwards when asking for information, as in “Hey, I know we have a problem, as the last person who was here left after 1 hour. But I need some specifics to do something about it.”

      1. Gerry Keay*

        Agreed. Board Member 1’s behavior is flat atrocious, and they should not be in a leadership position. Board Member 2’s behavior is shady at best and outright unethical at worst, and honestly, they should ALSO not be in a leadership position!

        1. t-vex*

          Well… in his defense, when someone walks out right away it could be a THEM problem. If it happens twice though…

          1. OhNo*

            Have to agree. What’s that quote… “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action”? In this case once could be a bad hire, but twice is getting pretty suspicious. If it’s allowed to happen a third time, you might as well say goodbye to the org now because it won’t be lasting much longer.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Wondering idly if there has been a third time since OP left that is causing him to try and really dig. Like he knew there was something off – but now three employees leaving very quickly has set off every alarm bell possible and he needs concrete information to try and get thru the Amy Defense Force member(s) of the board.

        2. Uranus Wars*

          I think is BM#2 is close in age to OP and is on a board full of BM#1’s then he is going to have a long battle to affect change. I think asking OP to document their experience could be a part of that.

          1. bookworm*

            Yes, this for sure. I’m speculating based on my own experience of dysfunctional nonprofits, but I’m betting that young board member is a recent addition to the board as the old members discover that they are struggling with engaging the younger generation (translation: getting younger people to donate and/or volunteer). Board member 2 is probably battling being perceived as a “token young person” and dealing with the exact same condescending behavior that LW experienced from board member 1. He presumably really cares about getting the organization on a better footing, but that means being scrupulously professional board member and not looking like he’s gossiping with a new staff member. I’m rooting for Board Member 2!

            1. Artemesia*

              Sounds right. I have been the young board member back in the day and you have a tightrope walk to move a board away from unethical or incompetent behavior as the newbie.

            2. Been there*

              Yeah, and when these things come to a head a lot of the Board members on either side will leave. Many Board members just aren’t there to deal with these issues even if they theoretically know it’s their responsibility. BM #2 might end up leaving the Board if he is scapegoated and doesn’t want to keep paying for the privilege.

          2. Observer*

            The problem is not that they asked the OP to document the problem. The problem is that they neither warned the OP, nor gave them context when they walked out. He should have told the OP upfront that “We clearly have a problem, and I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me what happened so we can document the problem.”

            1. bookworm*

              This… isn’t how interaction between staff members and an individual board member works, especially when there appears to be a difference of opinions amongst board members about the effectiveness of another staff member. It’d be one thing if LW was hired to be Amy’s boss, but it’s really not professional for board members to pull other staff members into personnel matters during the interview and hiring process. It sounds like this board member *did* basically have the conversation with LW that you’re suggesting after she left.

              1. Gerry Keay*

                This isn’t a “difference of opinions” though. It’s an employee’s extreme incompetence and harassing behaviors being protected by a board member. The other board members have an ethical obligation to the organization to put a stop to it. That’s literally their jobs.

                1. Amaranth*

                  A board member won’t have anything to do with the day to day running of the organization however. They have monthly or quarterly meetings where they get updates from the director and maybe department heads. I wouldn’t assume they heard anything but ‘oh, James only stayed for an hour then quit.’ My guess is the explanation was fudged like ‘he gave no reason’ or ‘he took another job.’ Its not a red flag if James doesn’t report a problem on the way out. Someone else leaving quickly, however, makes them look back and wonder if James really was a bad hire or they need to look into it.

                2. bookworm*

                  How is warning an incoming staff person that you have suspicions that someone they’re going to work closely with is incompetent and toxic putting a stop to the problem, though? One board member (and given the ages LW lists, probably a new one at that) can’t unilaterally demand the board fire a long-term employee who is clearly close to other board member(s) without proof and agreement from other board members, and also needs to avoid giving Toxic Employee and board allies the ability to say “oh, board member 2 has a vendetta and is poisoning new hires against me.” Does the situation suck for LW? Absolutely. But it’s not Board Member 2’s fault– he’s the only one trying to make things better!

                3. Observer*

                  @Amaranth This is not about the day to day running of the organization – it’s about the total incapacity of the person who is currently in the position. When you discover something that indicates that there could be a major issue with the person in charge, that is almost the definition of the role of the board to step in. Especially since the Board is doing the hiring already!

                  And, I don’t care what the manager said – the fact that the first hire walked out after an hour IS a red flag. Not proof that there IS a problem, but a warning that there is a high probability. Once the SECOND hire walked out on day two, that takes it from probability to almost certainty.

                  At that point you don’t wait to “bump into” someone and hope they will tell you what happened.

                  @bookworm The fact that Board Member 2 didn’t warn the OP is not my biggest beef. And I can see your point. But, once the OP quite, they should have reached out. And when the OP deflected, they should have been honest that they have reason to suspect a problem, so the really need to know what happened. Which they didn’t do. That’s the real problem.

      2. ArtK*

        I think this is being extremely unfair to Board Member 2. We have no idea what they have or haven’t done already. They may have asked OP to provide more details because Board Member 1 has successfully fought off attempts to remove Amy with the same blame shifting she gave to the OP. Just because a board member knows about a problem, it doesn’t mean that they can unilaterally fix it.

        1. Observer*

          The problem is not that he asked the OP to document. In fact, in my opinion that’s the only thing he did right here!

          But, as soon as the OP left, he should have reached out and asked why, not waited to “bump into” them. And when the OP hedged, they should have said up front “We had a problem with the prior hire leaving very quickly, and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. I’d appreciate if you would share the full story.” Or something like that.

          1. bookworm*

            But, the LW told the board she had a family emergency as the reason for resigning. Are you suggesting the board member reach out and say “I think you’re lying about why you resigned” when she could well have been in the middle of a family emergency?

            1. Observer*

              No, he should have reached out and said “I know that you said that you have a family emergency. But we also have reason to suspect a problem, since the last person only lasted an hour. If there is anything we should know, in addition to your family emergency, we would really appreciate it.” (Maybe stick to “I” rather than we, given what is going on with the board.)

              1. Dust Bunny*

                If he’s closer in age to the LW he may be newer to the Board and either less aware of the problems or feel he doesn’t have the political capital to dig up dirt where established Board members have declined to do so.

                I have a much bigger problem with Board Member 1.

          2. JB*

            He did reach out, LW chose at that time not to discuss it with him.

            I think we can all agree that we wouldn’t want a board member of a prior employer DEMANDING more information at that point. It was the LW’s choice whether to disclose or not, as it should be, and when they decided they DID want to share, his reaching out made them feel comfortable speaking with him even after the brush-off they got from the other board member. IMO he’s handling everything exactly as he should.
            It seems like what you want is for LW not to have been put in this situation in the first place, which I believe we all agree on, but you can’t point at the one person in this scenario (aside from the LW) who’s acting sane and go ‘you, you should have prevented all of this!’; it’s pretty clear from his actions that if he were in a position to prevent it, he would have, and he’s trying right now to prevent it from happening to someone else.

        2. Gerry Keay*

          I’m responding to OP’s notion that they were unsurprised about the situation. I’m aware board members aren’t gods — but it’s about as close as you get in a firm. If its the case that Board Member 2 knows their employee is a problem, knows that their fellow board member is a problem, hire people anyway (which requires they quit their previously job), and then ask the person who was essentially harassed off the job site to do the work of documenting these problems? Yeah that’s not someone who I’d want on the board of my organization!

          1. PT*

            You can’t take action against an employee without proof of what they did, though. And frequently, that requires the employee who was a victim to do the work of documenting what happened. Especially if they chose to deflect conflict by telling a white lie instead of reporting how they were victimized in the first place.

            The only way around this is if you start treating your workplace like a childcare center, and make it so that no two employees can ever be alone with each other (rule of three) and put up cameras everywhere with no blindspots. And that’s simply unworkable in most workplaces that aren’t childcare centers, and the vast majority of employees would quit if they were under such rigorous surveillance and their job didn’t call for it.

          2. JB*

            Instead you’d prefer…a board member who unilaterally fires a long-standing employee based on his own suspicions? It sounds like this is what you’re saying he should have done, which is just bewildering to me.

            And victims providing written documentation of their experience is how we get evidence of wrongdoing. Is it fair? Maybe not; in an ideal world, a victim should be able to just wash their hands of a situation, walk away, and start healing. But in this world, where humans are not psychic and LW cannot just download their memories into his brain, the board member is basically limited to either asking her to document her experiences or engaging in some ‘undercover boss’ style shenanigans to prove his suspicion that this employee is a problem. Of course he’s asking to see if LW is willing to provide that documentation. And LW is fully in their rights to say no – just like, for example, the victim of a crime isn’t forced to go through the process of creating a police report. It’s their decision.

            1. Gerry Keay*

              So what, you think that this situation was unavoidable? I’m making the point that the entire board is dysfunctional if an employee this bad has been allowed to stay this long and scare off two hires, not to mention numerous customers. It may not entirely Board Member 2’s fault or responsibility, but the entire board is falling down on their duty for this situation to even arise.

              1. Lurker*

                I disagree to an extent. It is not the Board’s job to directly manage employees other than the Director. The Director reports to the Board; the other employees report to the Director or a subordinate of them. That being said, the Director should be handling this better; and/or keeping the Executive Committee informed. Then have the EC push it up to the full board if warranted.

          3. NGO wench*

            “I’m aware board members aren’t gods — but it’s about as close as you get in a firm.”

            Full disclosure: I have never worked in a corporate environment, so I’m not sure if this differs in the private sector, but this is *not at all* how nonprofit boards function. As opposed to boards of private firms, where seats are allocated based on shareholder status, nonprofit board seats are generally honors (and responsibilities!) offered to prominent members of the community. In my current organization, board members rotate off every two years. And while the board as a whole has the responsibility to ensure the organization is behaving ethically as part of their big picture guidance, generally individual board members getting involved in day-to-day staff operations would be considered a pretty big overstep. I think the fact that Board Member 2 is gathering documentation to bring back to the board is a sign of just how bad this situation has gotten.

            For context, I have been at my nonprofit for almost 10 years, I am a middle manager, and I have never once interacted with a member of our board. If a board member came in wanting to make personnel changes that circumvented our ED, I would be pretty flummoxed. I’d probably just go back to our ED, inform her what’s going on, and ask her to handle it.

            Engaging in some fact finding to bring back to the board for discussion, so the board as a whole can THEN pull in the ED for next steps, is EXACTLY the right step here for Board Member 2. It would be inappropriate for him to involve himself directly to try to go rogue on fixing this issue.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Yep. This. We get routinely told that we as a board cannot do this and cannot do that by our Over Lords. The list of Can’t Do’s is extremely long. And I can see why boards get stuck in an ivory tower. Fortunately, we are a hands on group. It’s the reason I stay with the group.

          Because BM2 even asked/talked about it I have an ounce of hope that he is a ray of sunshine in this dark boardroom. All it takes is one person to turn a board, but it takes time to do that. It’s not instant.

      3. Mockingjay*

        To be fair, Board Member 2 could have thought that the abrupt departure of the 1-hour employee was a one-off. But when OP also quit suddenly, that provided a pattern and now he’s asking about it.

        1. Properlike*

          And/or, the previous person who quit after only an hour was asked to provide feedback and didn’t.

          It’s surprising how many people refuse to speak up in situations like this.

  6. glitterbomb*

    Hoo boy, bullet massively dodged.

    My organization had an Amy. She was a “beloved” director. Beloved by a small number who didn’t have to work for or with her. After more years in a position than she deserved she was invited to retire early (the other option being the possibility of charges being levied against her). She continues to try to exert authority over other agencies that work with us and wedge her way in.

      1. glitterbomb*

        Honestly, I don’t know all 100% of the story but from what I understand it was falsifying documents and trying to get government awarded to her private company. It was corrected (and would probably been hard to get convicted at the end of the day, likely would have been pled out, which is kind of what happened anyway) but there was some ethic violations they were looking at. It’s a shame, she deserved that and more. The other departments that shared offices with her got to listen to her scream, swear and belittle people all day long.

        Every once in a while she pops up in our building to “visit”, I can’t freaking stand her (which she knows) and she avoids me like the plague. Literally walks on the other side of the sidewalk just to avoid being in 10 feet of my door. I think it’s hysterical and take it as a badge of honor.

    1. Cedarthea*

      To me it sits up there with “open all the cages in the zoo kind of stupid” from a cut song from Hamilton (Congratulations).

      I love saying like this that generally avoid ableism, but express how absurd those situations can be.

    2. Catalin*

      I was just thinking that I must add “I don’t have a big enough ‘yikes’ for that” to my common vocabulary.

    3. Malarkey01*

      I just got off a particularly nuts work conference video call and was telling a coworker I didn’t have the words to describe what I just sat through…then I read this. Apeshit ball pit perfectly summarizes it and is my new go to.

  7. Academic Librarian too*

    If haven’t done it already, do NOT put anything in writing. You have communicated. Your part is finished and you owe them nothing. Board member number two can form a committee and take an official “exit interview statement” if you are willing.

    1. Gerry Keay*

      LW certainly isn’t obligated to, but I’m not sure I see a danger to it, other than potentially wasted time and unnecessarily-increased cortisol levels.

        1. ArtK*

          OP no longer works there. What sort of retaliation did you have in mind, and why would it be more significant because it’s a spouse and not the board member?

          1. The Rural Juror*

            OP has mentioned that they currently work with 2 spouses of 2 board members if I understood correctly. So yeah…I can see how there might be a danger of retaliation.

            1. Observer*

              In that case, it’s not going to make any difference if they put it in writing or not. There is no legal case here, where “written statements” or the like make a difference. All there is, is the possibility of an unethical spouse taking umbrage and trying to retaliate against the OP – and for that you do NOT need anything in writing.

            2. Myrin*

              People kept bringing that up in the original commen thread, too, and I simply don’t see it. I mean, I guess theoretically I can kiiiind of come up with some scenario where this could have Consequences for her at her new job but… not really?

              What are they gonna say or even react to? “My coworker OP gave a factual recount of her one (1) horrible day at [organisation] where my spouse happens to be on the board. This is outrageous because of reasons!”?

              Nevermind that we don’t even know if the spouses are in any kind of position – organisation-/hierarchy-wise, I mean – where they could even do anything to OP.

              1. Gerry Keay*

                Yeah like. I wouldn’t write it because I just simply wouldn’t want to spend any more mental energy than I need to on the situation, but I really do have to stretch my imagination to see a scenario that could really seriously hurt LW. Then again, stranger this happen at sea.

        2. JB*

          In which case the written statement would provide her with a lot more protection, as opposed to now, where they can still absolutely retailate and all she would have is her word that she wasn’t just gossipping.

    2. PrincessFlyingHedgehog*

      It might be to OP’s benefit to have a straightforward, factual statement on the record as a rebuttal to the lies that Amy is spreading — but it should focus on recording the timeline and dry facts of that time as much as possible, with no editorializing.
      And yes, OP is under NO obligation to provide this. This seems to be a sinking sink, and OP’s testimony may very well be too late to prompt any useful change.

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

        LW can do it if they want to, but personally I wouldn’t. Little to gain, since LW is already gone and I don’t get the sense they are really that connected to the organization. And something to lose, given that not one but two people are out there on the other “side” of this board war.

        If LW does do it, IMHO they should stick to the most factual, undeniable aspects of the situation, and avoid any hint of editorializing.

    3. Lily Rowan*

      Yeah, you are in a better place, and are probably better off not getting re-involved with that mess.

      Apeshit ball pit INDEED!

      1. pagooey*

        Everyone’s thoroughly covered the general insanity and relief of your situation, OP, so I’m just chiming in to thank you for “apeshit ball pit,” which I’m slotting into my descriptive catalog IMMEDIATELY. Godspeed!

    4. Enough*

      Without a written record often times nothing can be/will be done. Very little changes if no one is willing to stand up and speak.

  8. Adam V*

    I wonder if Board Member #2 could refer a friend as a “new employee”; it doesn’t sound like it would take very long for Amy to show her colors and for the friend to report back and confirm OP’s report.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      The only problem I see with this is that I suspect that Board Member 1 somehow warns Amy (they are her champion after all) whenever board members that may not be such fans would come by.

      I kinda also wonder now if Amy is driving the new employees off on purpose by being totally off the walls in her comments/behavior to keep herself “invaluable” to the Board and thus keep her job?

  9. Murphy*

    The last person in the position lasted an hour and Board Member 1 is still taking Amy’s word for it. Oh my. I’m glad you’re out of there, OP.

    1. Albeira Dawn*

      I occasionally keep up with minutes or recordings from things like my county’s Board of Commissioners or my alma mater’s Board of Trustee meetings, and people are always surprised I find them interesting at all. Well, I do it because this kind of absolutely insane interpersonal chaos is present in every group of people and I thrive off poor secretaries (I was one myself) trying to figure out how to describe it in the minutes.

      1. TiffIf*

        I’ve gone to a few city council meetings where I live and while I haven’t seen this type of thing some of them can be pretty interesting. (There was once a proposal from a 15 year old to do a zoning change for his home so that he could be permitted to raise a cow for an FFA project. The city council approved it and wished him success. It was quite adorable–nervous young teenager earnestly addressing small town city council about raising a cow.)

  10. ArtsyGirl*

    I cannot stress how horrible Board Member 1 is. She seeks you out for feedback and then when you provide it with tangible examples, she says “nope you are wrong and lazy and Amy is sent from the heavens even though we know that she is clearly unable to retain employees but that is all your fault.” Also how many generational tropes against millennials can Board Member 1 and Amy pull out – the phone, being lazy/entitled, and overly sensitive. I mean its clear the OP isn’t work shy SINCE SHE WORKS WITH BOARD MEMBER 1’s SPOUSE!

  11. CommanderBanana*

    Welp, there it is. I’ve worked for enough dysfunctional small nonprofits to not be surprised, sadly.

    1. quill*

      I’m really morbidly curious what the rest of the local arts scene thinks of this set. Is it “Never interact” or is it “they’ve got the money so grin and bear it I guess”?

      Because from my peripheral knowledge of the arts, when the board of a local nonprofit is like this it’s because they’re how the money comes in. They’re either very good at schmoozing or the money is coming from their family.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        My suspicion is that BM1 brings in major funding, and so long as she thinks Amy is great, there is nothing for it. But I could be wrong.

          1. PT*

            At the nonprofit where I used to work, there was a minimum annual donation required to be a board member, so this is highly likely.

            1. Splendid Colors*

              Someone suggested I join the board of a local [marginalized group] org because they don’t have representation for anyone with my disability. A significant portion of the application could be summarized as “How good are you as a rainmaker, how much will you donate personally, and btw we don’t want you contributing to other organizations while you’re on the Board.” Another portion was dedicated to promising to make an appearance for donor visits to the org at any time, which is not really a promise I can make when I run a small business. I can’t blow a client deadline because I had to show up to a dog & pony show for the donors who want to do a facility tour when it doesn’t work in my schedule.

              I decided I didn’t care if I burned that bridge and contacted the director to let her know I was not interested because clearly their board was not intended to get input from actual [marginalized group] people. She gaslighted me and said there was nothing in the application about the topics I paraphrased.

              I found out from an ex-employee (who was fired for discriminatory reasons) that they added a clause about “being fired permanently disqualifies you from the Board” after firing him because they knew he would try to get on the Board and pass reforms.

      2. Teapot Repair Technician*

        LW described it as a “community arts center run by a local art nonprofit”, but that could mean almost anything.

        I wouldn’t be surprised it has no connection to the local arts scene.

    2. Workerbee*

      I’m in a dysfunctional, small non-profit myself! Now that it’s been several years, it is amazing how these things don’t surprise me either. I still get appalled, though. I am grateful for the salary and the truly good eggs among the coworkers, and try to avoid the Others as much as I can.

      (Incidentally, before I took this job and never having worked at a NP before, let alone a small one, I inquired at a Friday open forum if there were any pitfalls to watch out for. I got roundly piled on for daring to succumb to the “stereotype,” simply by asking. I now send the shame I felt on that day right back out to the pilers.)

    3. GreyjoyGardens*

      Yup. Same with “dysfunctional small family businesses.” I’ve seen many small businesses and nonprofits – small enough to have no dedicated HR department and an owner or board member who can make a cult of personality – be de facto sheltered employment for people, like Amy, who would be fired from any sane workplace. But, “Amy” has an in with the owner or director or board member, so “Amy” has a cushy sinecure.

  12. Gerry Keay*

    going full fan fiction here but who else wants to bet Board Member 1 and Amy are having a wild affair

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I’ll see your story and raise you one.
      Nobody on the board is able to speak to Amy and all interactions with her are disseminated by Board Member #1 because…
      She is Amy!
      She has an Amy costume, make up, fake teeth, wig.
      She is so controlling that she has to run the organization herself and that’s why she runs off every employee with her terrible “training” and triggering anecdotes.

      1. Anonymouse*

        I would have gone with evil twin.
        But since it is a local arts group: Amy puppet, Amy marionette, or, my favorite, Amy paper mache.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          OH! Yes, the paper mache…that explains the obsession with the lights! She has to keep them at the appropriate dimness to hide her matte finish!

  13. Essentially Cheesy*

    I hope the LW also shared their experience with BM#1 when they were talking to BM#2. That is quite a difference in values or perspective between what should be a cohesive group. Sounds like Amy isn’t the only problem!

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      She did!

      ” I spilled all the tea and left nothing out, including my panic attack and the conversation with Board Member 1.”

      He also asked her to include that conversation in her write up.

  14. anonymous73*

    It amazes me how so many people get away with inappropriate behavior and always manage to convince people that it’s everyone else’s fault. If you can’t keep people in a job for more than a few hours, you might want to take a closer look at the common denominator.

      1. CW*

        Try 14 times in a row. That was the reality with one company I used to work with – a narcissistic boss, who I lasted 6 weeks under, and a narcissistic CEO who expect everyone to treat her like she is the queen of medieval Europe. That should explain explain everything. It’s just sad that this doesn’t surprise me anymore.

    1. Midwestern Scientist*

      Right?? Maybe the first time you could say it was a bad candidate fit (but I would have some serious side-eye over someone only lasting an hour). But two new hires in a row leaving so quickly??? How does that not raise a red flag for everyone involved?

  15. Dark Macadamia*

    You lazy entitled millennials, where is the work ethic to *checks notes* flip a light switch and listen to personal overshares instead of doing your job? Ugh, these snowflakes expecting basic professionalism are destroying the apeshit ball pit industry.

    1. Batgirl*

      When someone points the finger at others there are three pointing back at them.
      That is something I always think whenever millennials are called “entitled”; they’re the only generation who don’t automatically expect to get everything their parents were able to get.

  16. Bibliothecarial*

    So Amy, who is not a millennial, takes 45 minutes to turn on a light switch because millennials are lazy and entitled?!? That makes absolutely no sense, besides just being a mean and untrue thing to say.

    1. KateM*

      I was thinking that if I was explained for 45 minutes how to flip a switch I would probably take into my phone if I could.

    2. Former Young Lady*

      I’ve noticed that “Millennials” has become lazy shorthand for “anyone who dares to be in their teens or 20s right now, and whose relative youth makes me feel old by comparison.”

      If we can all just keep calling emerging adults “the Millennials,” we can pretend that the Millennials haven’t aged since the Turn of the Millennium, and therefore neither have any of the rest of us. It’s magic!

        1. Chidi-Janet & The Tarantula Squids*

          I’m a millennial and just under a decade off turning 50. But somehow also I apparently have no understanding of how the Real World works and am in for a nasty shock when I stop relying on my (both deceased) parents for pocket money.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Millennial on the older end of the spectrum – just turned 40.

          But I do understand the desire for “I’m not getting older. One of my now deceased relatives forever celebrated the “anniversary of their 39th birthday.” We all just humored them – it was really the only major quirk, and it seemed harmless enough. Oh, and it happened even when I was in elementary school, so it was defiantly just their long running quirk.

  17. KimberlyR*

    OOF. That place sounds awful. So happy for you, LW! And that you were honest with those Board Members so you could have the validation that this was not on you!

    1. Former Young Lady*

      Maybe they could include “rewinding a cassette tape with a pencil” or “dialing a rotary telephone” as requirements for their next round of screening interviewees.

      (“Geriatric” Millennial, here. I could do both tasks, but more importantly I’d get the hint that I was likely unwelcome and wasting my time.)

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I also recognize and have done those things as well. I actually also know how a record player works (and still own one too).

        But it’s hat would probably screen out all the younger people they need to stay in business….total toss up according to Member 1.

  18. It's Growing!*

    Oh, I don’t think I’d put it in writing! This has all the appearance of a thing that comes back and bites you in the butt. Let BM2 take care of whatever can be done at the board level. Saying it and writing it are two different things.

    1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

      Yeah – I’m torn about whether or not that’s a good idea. If the LW does put it in writing, it should very much stick to the facts – nothing about their own reaction, just a dry recounting of what Amy said. If I remember right, some of the overshares were wildly, wildly inappropriate.

      So definitely go more along the lines of, “Amy described her proclivity for ****** and ****** to me in graphic detail, including the following medical details….” and not, “Amy was so awful I had to make an emergency visit to my therapist.”

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yes definitely! Try to take any emotion out of it.

        I also don’t know how necessary it is to document the conversation with the other board member. If the sympathetic guy brings up the list of Amy’s behavior, the other board member will either have to agree it’s bad or else will go into the same rant they did in front of OP about how Amy is great and everyone else is lazy. I don’t think OP’s recounting of their conversation is likely to add anything.

    2. Artemesia*

      BM2 HAS the information he needs — he wants someone else to take the gaff — in case things go south and he can then step back. LW has provided him the data he needs to probe further — She should not be pushed into standing out front when the arrows fly

      1. JB*

        This is an extremely silly take on putting it into writing.

        I’ve been in a similar position to the LW myself. As it stands, LW is fully exposed. BM2 can still absolutely say it was LW who gave him this information, AND ALSO could claim LW made additional accusations that they did not. LW has no way to defend against that.

        Putting it into writing means there is a document of exactly what LW’s complaints were. Nothing more, nothing less. Unreasonable people can feel however they want about the statement, but any reasonable person who hears rumors about what LW said or did can be pointed to written evidence of their position and experience with the situation. It is the most protection you can have if you’re going to discuss something like this, short of video/audio recorded evidence of what happened.

        1. STAT!*

          Agreed. LW is ALREADY in the firing line. Amy has lied to the board about how LW behaved whilst at the organisation. Board Member 1 has dimissed LW’s legitimate complaints and observations as “Your whole age group is just lazy and entitled”: basically, again accusing LW of lying.

          If I were LW I would want to duck and cover permanently. However, that approach carries no guarantee that Amy and Board Member 1 won’t continue hunting for her anyway. Also, I would be absolutely livid over the lies being told about me, potentially impacting my professional reputation.

    1. KateM*

      I mean that new hire didn’t even listen to the end of explanation of how to flip a switch?? Lazy millenial.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I would have just reached over and flipped it, then said, “What’s next?” just to see what happened.

  19. Siege (The other one?)*

    I know people are asking for updates, and I am curious too, but LW I honestly hope you don’t have to get tangled up in that workplace anymore. Sounds like a lot of stress and little reward.

  20. ...*

    “He said I lasted longer than the previous employee, who walked out after an hour.” ….what? what? what?

  21. emeemay*

    “apeshit ball pit” would be a great band name. Also, what an absolutely miraculous dodge on this nuclear firestorm of a job, OP!

  22. Sunflower*

    I don’t think it’s an age thing. They are just horrible.

    I hope we get another update. A good one.

    1. Sunflower*

      I mean this one is good because the OP got away. I mean another good update letting us know the board is now wise to those two.

    2. Former Young Lady*

      OP didn’t make it an age thing. Amy and Board Member 1 did, in about as petulant and obvious a fashion as they could.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yes, I think including ages in the update was because it only became relevant when the one board member was trying to dismiss OP as young and lazy.

  23. CatBookMom*

    If you decide to write up the work experience that you discussed with Board Member#2, can you ask him to also put in writing, to you, that this narrative is at his request, to document what you told him in person? He asked you about your experience. You told him, and he asked that you write this up, so he can take it to the board meeting. If you don’t have his request, in writing, then I’d have some fear that other board members could claim that you went into a tizzy, sent all this horrible stuff about Amy Co-Worker, just because of viciousness on your part. It’s a different sort of CYA, but Board Member #2 only just saying in the meeting that he’d asked you to do this would perhaps have less weight, believability, if you also have his request in writing, and he can show a copy of it to the board.

        1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

          Yeah I’d start that letter with “As per the request of BM2 on X date during verbal conversation the following is my experience at Job with Amy and verbal conversation with BM1 when asked about my experience at Job with Amy.”

          1. Observer*

            Yes. And the stick TOTALLY to the facts – nothing about your jaw dropping etc. Because while that is 100% valid it’s not going to be helpful to you if someone wants to try to use it against you.

            1. wordswords*

              Absolutely. Professionalism, professionalism, professionalism — that will both cover LW best and make LW’s case best, by helping to refute any accusations of ‘spoiled young thing who spent the whole time on her phone’ just through the dry factual tone alone.

    1. Artemesia*

      He hs what he needs — he doesn’t need her to ‘write it up’ unless he wants to shuck actual responsibility

      1. bookworm*

        What? I truly don’t understand why people are being so hard on Board Member 2. I suppose it’s possible that he’s plotting to like, email LW’s letter to the board anonymously or pretending to be her, but FAR FAR more likely that he’s going to say something like “I was concerned that we’ve lost two staff members in the same position, so I’ve been asking around, and both of the previous people we’ve hired have truly alarming accounts of what it’s like to work with Jane. Here are written accounts from both of them– note how the details line up. Also, I asked a few people who are clients/customers about their experiences with Jane, and here’s what they had to say.” Getting LW’s experience down in writing is part of building a paper trail to show why this person is bad news (especially to avoid claims that this is a case of age discrimination!)

        1. JSPA*

          Because we’ve seen how board power struggles operate, and how rarely it’s just “the one thing” that’s in play. (Even if that “one thing” is that the only full time, long-term employee is deeply problematic.) The board member can be acting in good faith, and ALSO using OP’s testimony / testimonial as ammunition in the long-term struggle.

          1. bookworm*

            Using this as part of a long-term struggle is absolutely what’s going on, but that’s miles away from the accusation that the board member “wants to shuck actual responsibility” which is what I’m commenting on. This guy genuinely seems like he’s taking on responsibility to try to deal with systemic issues with the board (note that he asked for a write up on the convo with board member 1 too).

      2. Pibble*

        You expect him to remember everything LW said, accurately, while being questioned and possibly attacked by other board members? Who could dismiss what he says LW said as something he made up entirely if they felt like it, due to a lack of written testimony? There’s a reason we tell people who are trying to go to authorities about bad situations to document their experiences – it’s so people like BM#2 can use it as evidence to do something about it!

  24. too many too soon*

    I recall getting hired for a job that the previous employee left when her husband was so outraged at the horrible treatment by the business owners that he wanted to get violent. Of course I didn’t find this out until I was knee deep in an apeshit ball pit.

    1. Vesuvius*

      I feel this. I got hired to work for a company that was on-the-surface normal, but quickly turned into a “wow, this place is INSANE” story. It’s the same company with Petyr/James (I edit-messed up) and Cersei, from my petty workplace revenge tale. Cersei was incapable of doing anything wrong and blamed former and current employees for all of her problems. Afaik, Cersei is currently pretending everything is fine while the project goes down in flames, and ignoring all the documentation I left to make it work. (I never intended to be indispensable and left copious notes on every task, because I inherited a complete mess (previous employee tried to make himself indispensable) and refused to do that to my coworkers.)

      For context, the previous field staff left over discriminatory practices, sexism, and outright racism in one case. I’m so grateful to be out of there. If your employees are leaving like crazy (which the job offloaded what, 6 employees during COVID’s height, maybe more?) then maybe look at a common denominator?

  25. Former Young Lady*

    I’ve been in the workforce for twenty years, now. I’ve worked in a few environments that encouraged older workers to express unvarnished resentment for younger ones. Those work cultures tended to be riddled with immaturity and incompetence.

    OP was right to run at the first sign of this.

    To my fellow professionals who came of age in the 20th Century: try to remember that “childish” and “young at heart” are not actually synonyms. Trite stereotypes and snotty remarks about “safe spaces” only make us look bitter and jealous. Behavior like this is unbecoming at any age, but it’s inexcusable at ours. OK?

    1. Splendid Colors*

      I am old enough I grew up with rotary dial phones and my first office job used WordStar on a MS-DOS computer using 8″ floppy disks.

      I also heartily agree that people should be safe from discrimination and harassment at work. I’ve seen more situations where the younger employees are better at the job and the older ones won’t learn new skills or get along by schmoozing the right people instead of by doing their jobs.

      1. Philosophia*

        And the entire WordStar program fit on a small section of the 8″ floppy disk, leaving plenty of space for documents!

      2. Sara without an H*

        Ditto. I’m old enough to have had to grin and bear it as older co-workers (who outranked me) said things like, “Of course, you don’t understand, you’re so young!” Had I ever said “Of course, you don’t understand, you’re so old”…it would not have gone down well.

        The whole concept of “generations” with cute names and identical characteristics is bullshit. Most of the problems I’ve ever had with young workers were due to the fact that they were — surprise! — young and inexperienced.

        1. JSPA*

          Well, from a purely factual standpoint, the old have been young (and have seen many things in real time, that are history for the young); the young have not been old.

          Now, that doesn’t mean that all older people have made sense of all that experience. Or grown through experiencing it. Nor that their skills have kept pace. Attitudes, even if updated, on an intellectual level, can live in tension with buried attitudes from an earlier, less egalitarian era. Fair enough.

          But, “you have only experienced the world for 15 years as a conscious human being, while we have experienced it for 40, and in that time, we’ve seen many ‘universally-accepted truths’ and many ‘best practices’ come and go”–that’s a statement of fact. Not, intrinsically, a statement of bias.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        8″ floppies! I remember those.

        This reminds me of having a younger skating coach, and she said once, “Sometimes I feel weird telling you what to do since you’re older than me.” I told her I was paying her to do exactly that. During our lesson, she was the boss. It was LITERALLY HER JOB to tell me what to do, and I could not do it unless she told me!

        Older workers with younger bosses can learn from them. Younger people can also learn from older people. We all have stuff to teach each other.

    2. CreepyPaper*

      ‘Unvarnished resentment for younger ones’ is exactly what some former managers at where I work had, before they were gently retired and a younger, less judgy level of management came in. I love it. Younger staff aren’t afraid to speak up now. Before they were, in case they upset someone. Heck even I was, and I’m 40!

  26. CW*

    The first employee lasted only an hour? Wow, bullet dodged. And Board Member 1 sounds like a bitter old lady who has no business in her position.

    1. Dancing Otter*

      Now who’s being ageist?
      Amy obviously sold BM#1 a bill of goods without even a nodding acquaintance with the truth. We don’t know what, if any, of their comments represent their own opinion and what is simply parroting what Amy told them.

      1. Former Young Lady*

        No. When someone makes prejudiced remarks, and someone else “parrots” those remarks without critique, you have two (2) prejudiced people.

        1. CW*

          There are two sides to every story, but it seems like Board Member 1 would only hear Amy’s side if Amy had said anything. Seems like the employer plays favorites, which isn’t a good recipe for a healthy workplace.

      2. CW*

        To be clear, OP’s post about Board Member 1 ticked me off because my generation has been bashed as “entitled”, “lazy”, “Peter Pan” for too long that it is starting to test my patience. So I will admit I let my feelings get in the way.

        Either way, someone like Amy who drives employees away, especially after 1 hour and the next one a day and a half, is more than a red flag.

      3. ArtsyGirl*

        I didn’t read this as ageist. The OP laid out Amy’s problematic behavior with specific examples and then the Board Member was the one who was ageist. She parroted back what Amy had told her which had zero to do with Amy’s behavior. Claiming that the OP and her generation needed “safe spaces” is weirdly antagonist and clearly she dismissed the OP’s feedback simply because it did not conform with her opinion of Amy and ultimately because of the OP’s age.

  27. Sal*

    I’m 36 and female and I generally wouldn’t use “unsafe” for anything not related to actual bodily harm or talk about specific mental-health symptoms (e.g., actual rather than figurative panic attacks) with work colleagues or in work-related contexts under normal circumstances; I think it’s too often an invitation for people to dismiss you (when you’re fighting against that as a comparatively-young woman anyway…). I would encourage LW to consider whether the benefits of presenting themselves with that amount of candor are worth the potential drawbacks. Glad LW got out, though!

    1. Batgirl*

      What makes you conclude the panic attack was figurative? They had “panic attack symptoms” and referred to it plainly as a panic attack in retrospect.

      1. JSPA*

        Reading comprehension: Sal addresses two separate things.

        Thing a: using unsafe to talk about anything but direct physical menace
        Thing b: talking about an actual, real panic attack or other mental health problem, in a work context.

        (Sal also clarifies that talking about a figurative panic attack doesn’t fall into this category, which isn’t relevant to OP, but is relevant to Sal’s overall rule-of -thumb. Which aligns, FWIW, with Alisons original feedback.)

        The sentence is grammatically correct as written, though perhaps “nor” in place of “or” would make it even clearer. Nowhere does Sal claim that OP’s reaction was not an actual clinical panic attack. In fact, that’s the whole point–as for other health issues, but often even more so, it’s often a bad idea to bring up or delve into mental health issues, in detail, in a work context.

    2. TiffIf*

      by the end of my shift I was having panic attack symptoms. When I got home, I made an emergency appointment to see a therapist for the first time in over a year.

      That is from the OP’s original letter. The panic attack was very literal.

  28. Bookworm*

    Damn, OP. It should be astoundingly, completely clear that the problem is absolutely not you. There is not enough yikes in the world but yeah. You definitely saved yourself.

    I’m so glad Board Member 2 was willing to listen. It may be that nothing will change, but hopefully you feel better, if only to escape. Sheesh.

    Take care! Thanks for sharing. And congrats and good luck in the new job!

  29. Still Trying to Adult*

    Not this story specifically, but AAM stories in general: These are why I don’t watch ‘The Office’ – it’s too close to the dysfunction of real-life workplaces; overbearing and abusive managers, petty tyrants, backstabbing colleagues, cronyism masquerading as business ethics, etc.

    The thing that lets me come back here are the updates, where something actually was done about it!!

  30. RJ*

    OP, you made the best possible move at the best possible time. Board Member 1 is the reason the Amys of the world exist. Supporting generational stereotypes is the worst type of team toxicity and bad, lazy management. I’ve worked with people from all generations and I’ve learned from them all during my twenty year plus career.

  31. Czhorat*

    “You lasted longer than the last one” at only a day and a half is about as big a YIKES as you can get.

  32. Why isn't it Friday?*

    “Board Member 1 then went into a tangent about my generation being lazy and not wanting to work hard and always needing safe spaces. I was speechless.”

    As a millennial, I cannot STAND this narrative. The irony is the narrative itself is extremely lazy and belied by objective evidence. Good for you, OP! It’s a good thing that you recounted your experience to Board member #2 given that Amy had the audacity to smear your professional reputation (after everything else)!

    1. Jackalope*

      And the annoying bit is that…. Why is it a bad thing to want your workplace to be a safe space? I mean, I know there are some fields (military, police, firefighting, etc.) where your job is unsafe by design. But in general, having a safe workplace is one of the most BASIC requirements, not an entitled millennial request. Sigh.

      1. Gerry Keay*

        Don’t you know? If you don’t want to someone trauma-dumping and continuously emotionally triggering you while at work every day, you’re actually an entitled baby coward who needs to go back to preschool and learn how to deal with the real world!!!!! /sarcasm

      2. Lab Boss*

        Except in this context “safe space” isn’t used to mean “literally physically safe location” but rather “space where I can be affirmatively free of mental/emotional stress or triggers.”

        I can make my lab physically safe by ensuring there’s a safety shower, but making it a “safe space” would be more about controlling the language, policing for biases, and preventing offense or excessive mental stress.

        Disclaimer: No intention here to speak to the value of this type of safe space, to what degree it belongs in the workplace, or whether there’s a difference between an inclusive workplace and a true “safe space.” Just clarifying the context I think BM1 meant the term in.

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        And even (or especially?) in jobs that are unsafe by design, safety is important and violation of safety rules may lead to termination. (Thinking back to the one job I had with a large manufacturing company, that required us being out on the shop floor at times. They took safety very seriously.) I have not seen specific workplace safety rules that spell out not being allowed to follow your teammate around the floor, unloading on them about your miserable sex life and your incarcerated child as they are trying to operate heavy machinery, but I’m sure there would be something in there about not being a distraction.

        1. quill*

          Don’t harass the forklift drivers. They use engines to lift things that can squish you as thin as 1 ply toilet paper.

    2. quill*

      It’s always code for “Millennials want me to treat them as adult humans with rights! Rather than listening to my endless rants about how in my day, we didn’t HAVE workplace protections / women’s rights / multiculturalism!”

      1. Splendid Colors*

        Exactly. Although I’m sure many of the people who don’t think workers deserve freedom from harassment also don’t think they deserve protection from physical harm either (see Tyson Foods using the Triangle Shirtwaist Company as a role model instead of a cautionary tale, Amazon warehouses having a far higher injury rate than other distribution centers, etc.).

      2. Former Young Lady*

        Sometimes it also means “Millennials in central administration keep telling me I can’t use these carbon paper triplicate forms and I have to learn how to do it on a computer now,” or “Having anyone significantly younger in the office interferes with my fantasy that I am still nineteen, and will be forever.”

    3. Batgirl*

      There are a lot of business built on the back of exploiting unsuspecting youth and inexperience. Always have been. The fact that they’re starting to target a specific generation by name is because more young people are starting to get wise to it.

    4. JelloStapler*

      I always thought it was a response by other generations being upset that they can’t be mean, bullying and belittling to other people without being called on it now.

      1. Why isn't it Friday?*

        Exactly. The people who complain about “political correctness” and who spew out racial slurs as easily as breathing are one and the same.

  33. HRDpt1*

    OP, Im so glad you were able to express your truth with the board members, however it was received. I wonder if you would be able to explain further what you mean by feeling “unsafe” in this context. I think this is language that is not in common use for Gen X like me, and I’m not grasping if you felt physically at risk or some other kind of safety issue in the work place with this person.

    1. Observer*

      It sounds to me like the OP was worried that they would be subjected to this OVERWHELMING flood of graphic oversharing and vitriol without any real work related content on a regular basis. Considering that it happened 2 days in a row, to the point that on the second day, the OP was starting to have a panic attack (and those are NOT a joke!) and needed to be picked up, this actually is a safety issue.

      Basically, Amy was being abusive. It may not have been physical abuse, but psychological abuse is still abuse.

      I find it ironic that you use “millennial speak” to discount the OP’s description while claiming to not quite understand the language of safety. I’m not a millennial, but the language is QUITE clear.

    2. Gerry Keay*

      A lack of emotional safety is still unsafe. If I thought someone was going to repeat behaviors that they know upset me after I’ve asked them to stop, I would feel unsafe. In addition to the extreme emotional discomfort of a panic attack, they also have pretty intense physical effects. People experience chest pain so severe they think they’re having a heart attack. I usually have a headache for 24 hours after my panic attack subsides. Please do not discount psychological safety simply because you haven’t experienced what it’s like to be in an emotionally harmful or dangerous situation.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        My asthma immediately kicks in when I’m having a panic attack, which I hold up there as one of my bodies worst quirks possible. It already feels like I’m going to suffocate and die, why do I need to actually be at risk of suffocating and dying?

      2. HRDpt1*

        Again, I was not trying to discount anything. I believe her and support her reasoning and her reaction to the situation. Did she ask the oversharer to stop? I did not read that, but can understand if she was unable or unwilling to do that. I do understand emotional discomfort and being in a extremely uncomfortable situation. In an extreme discomfort situation I would not think the word “unsafe” unless I felt physically at risk, though. I was trying to understand what she meant by the terms she was using specifically to her. Now you are using the term “dangerous.” I get that you are trying to say dangerous to her mental health. Using these words in this way does seem to be generational to some extent, and I would like to bridge the gap here. I would like to know that I understand what the person means. I do not believe these are just buzzwords or “Millennial speak” as the others said. I am seeking understanding and to HEAR her.

    3. Batgirl*

      I’m gen X and I’m always baffled by people’s confusion with the meaning of “unsafe”. It’s fairly obvious to me that you can consider a situation untrustworthy and unsafe without being in immediate physical danger (while remembering that in this case OP did actually suffer physically). If I’m on a website that has hateful mysogyny, it’s probably not safe to hang around and make offline friends. If someone is trash talking the entire organisation it’s not safe to entrust your work reputation to them (excellent spot on that score, OP; “on your phone” indeed!) We use the word ” not safe” all the time to describe foreseeable conclusions; the word “unsafe” is a natural evolution of that.

    4. JB*

      Have you ever been trapped in a room with someone who is using every non-physical means within their power to keep you there?

      Non-stop talking, speaking louder over you when you try to interrupt, saying ‘no, no, just a minute’ when you manage to get in enough words to say you need to step away, escalating to dramatic tears when you need to leave.

      I was trapped this way by a customer once for over three hours. In the room, that is; before arriving at our location, he’d had me on the phone for at least 45 minutes (literally talking to me until he pulled up in our parking lot) so overall it was longer than that. I was not in a position, career-wise, where I could be seen upsetting a customer. On other occassions he left me four or five voicemails in a row (he spoke too long and the voicemail messaging system would cut him off, so he would just call back and keep talking) and kept me on the phone for over an hour at least once a week.

      I was absolutely sure I was never in physical danger with him, but I still FELT very unsafe. I wasn’t sure what demands he would make on me next or how long I might be trapped next time. And humans are social animals; navigating social situations where someone has made it very clear that you’re displeasing them is stressful.

      It sounds to me like this LW was in a very similar situation, and I believe they truly did feel unsafe. Being talked at aggressively for hours on end is not the same as being physically threatened, but it is NOT just an ‘oh, that was unpleasant’ experience.

      1. JB*

        Also – as I’m sure some people who have never been in this position or met this kind of person will be thinking ‘well, I’d just say no. I’d just leave.’

        It really just isn’t that simple. This isn’t someone who was being careless with my time; it wasn’t someone who was getting worked up and going off on an uncontrolled rant; it was an intentional, aggressive effort to keep me locked into conversation for as long as HE could stand it.

        I am not an anxious person. I am extremely good at saying no. I was assigned this customer BECAUSE I’m very good at giving customers a firm ‘no’ and still maintaining a good working relationship with them.

        I was his last chance at working with a normal service rep; after me he got bumped up to our department head, because our department head could yell at him to ‘shut the hell up’ and that was literally the ONLY way to get him to behave.

        (‘Why didn’t you fire him as a customer?’ – why else? He owed us a lot of money. He wasn’t even trying to argue away his debt to us; his goal was to get us to act as his attorney to sue the city because he felt they were charging him too much in taxes. No, we were not a law firm or anything to do with legal services, he just felt we had a vested interest because he owed us so much money.)

      2. HRDpt1*

        That makes sense. In the context of feeling “held hostage,” I definitely can understand the feeling of a direct threat. Thank you for your illustration.

  34. Not a Blossom*

    “He said I lasted longer than the previous employee, who walked out after an hour.” Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow. I can’t even. I do hope that if the OP runs into Board Member 2 after the board meeting, we get an update.

  35. Hiring Mgr*

    weren’t there any other employees besides Amy and the OP? Seems like there should be someone in between OP and the board to address these things

    1. Teapot, Groomer of Llamas*

      It’s not uncommon in small nonprofits for the board to be directly responsible for supervising any employees. It’s also possible that Amy was the director of the center. So it is very plausible that it was just the OP and Amy working there.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      IIRC part of the original story was Amy is the only employee, and this position was new and would be adding a second employee.

  36. Condoms From a Satchel*

    People like BM#1 are the ones I keep hoping will go off at me about how all us millennials are so entitled just so I can tell them that I am not in fact a Millenial, just a very young GenX’er.

    1. Caboose*

      I mean, hell, I’ve been out of college and working for a handful of years, and I’m either the youngest of the Millennials or the oldest of Gen Z. Even the generation AFTER Millennials is entering the workforce!

    2. Tinker*

      I legit think that one of these days I’m going to get to tell one of those sort that age discrimination is prohibited when the target is over 40, that I am a Millennial, and that they are not as good as they think they are at guessing ages.

      1. Gracely*

        Oh man. I can’t wait for more Millennials to hit 40+ and finally be able to throw age discrimination back in the faces of people who bitch about us being young, lazy, and entitled.

  37. Susana*

    LW, so glad you got out of there! Ans yikes, that board member is Enabler City for Amy.

    One thing though – board member was completely wrong, but may have been reacting to the word “unsafe.” This is a word now being used to mean “extremely uncomfortable,” and feeds (very unfairly) into an image of young people unable to deal with the slightest challenge or pushback. I realize that is not the case – especially with you – but the word “unsafe,” which to many people means feeling actually, physically in danger, might not be the best word to use. It’s bad enough that Amy overshared so much it made you very uncomfortable and distressed at her lack of professionalism.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I will also point out that Amy has a relative in prison. Right there I am giving OP the benefit of the doubt. There have been too many workplace shootings for me to not.

      1. Presea*

        I see your point Seeking Second Childhood, but I think your comment might be a bit more unkind and unfair than you intended it. Not everyone in prison is in prison for a violent crime, and the crimes of Amy’s relatives don’t necessarily indicate anything at all about Amy.

        The fact that OP was aware of said relative is ample enough evidence of Amy’s lack of professionalism, I think.

      2. JSPA*

        Uh, so, you’d write off anyone who’s ever been in prison, but anybody who has or has had a relative in prison?

        Even if that doesn’t scream out, “really problematic!” (as it probably does for a lot of people reading this!) please put it in the context of,

        1. “We live in a country where there’s a huge bias in who gets incarcerated, in terms of income, race, neurodivergence, social status, etc.”

        2. People can have a dozen or even a couple dozen close relatives.

        3. The US has astoundingly high incarceration rates; 3% of the US population has been incarcerated at some point.

        Unless you think it’s reasonable to feel unsafe with half the people you interact with daily, perhaps rethink the presumption that “relative in jail” has any bearing on, “this person is a greater danger to me than some other random person.”

      3. pancakes*

        In addition to what Presea said, this is incredibly terrible logic. Just under 1 out of every 100 people on the US is incarcerated, and 45% of adults have a close relative who has spent time in jail or prison. Among people without high school degrees, that number raises to 60%. The idea that everyone in custody a) was rightfully convicted or put in custody, b) is a danger to others, and c) has somehow rendered their family members a danger to others is absurdly out of touch with how the US judicial system functions.

        I don’t agree with Presea that talking to coworkers about a relative in custody is inherently unprofessional, either. That Amy can’t manage it doesn’t mean no one else can either. There is no need to make such a broad generalization.

    2. HRDpt1*

      Thank you for this. I now understand that unsafe in this context is addressing her panic attack (physical) and mental health safety, but in my HR job, in the male dominated construction field with long difficult hours of work, if an employee told me that he felt unsafe or someone was making him feel unsafe, we would surely need to know are we talking physical harm here? Misuse of heavy equipment? Unsafe workzone practices? A coworker seeming so unstable that you are concerned about violence? Mental health is very important, but it is a different immediate category of issue.

  38. Recruited Recruiter*

    LW, I am thrilled that you had self-preservation instinct. When I got into that situation, my only instinct was income preservation. I lasted 21 months at a non-profit at which I (exempt, minimum exempt wage) had to work 70-80 hours per week. My “training” was along the lines of the hardcore oversharing. Once I got the courage up to ask the board about how my training was going, and how confused I was about the job itself, I was told “[Oversharing Co-worker] is a competent accountant. Trust that there is a reason for how your training is being done.”

    I was there for 21 months during which time Oversharing Co-worker: (in order of least to most egregious)
    – Demanded that I park her car in the dirt lot so she didn’t get her shoes muddy. (we were on the same level of the organization.)
    – Made impossibly optimistic enrollment predictions, which the budget I prepared had to be based upon..
    – Publicly called our best teacher lazy for refusing to fundraise instead of going on her preplanned spring break family vacation. (that one was really fun to try to salvage, and I got her to the end of the contract that she was on.)
    – Threatened a co-worker with public airing of a mistake when co-worker was interviewing with another non-profit.
    – Publicly insulted a donor. (nothing could salvage that one.)
    – Blamed the above PR nightmares on me to the Board of Directors.
    – Publicly claimed that I had quit without notice when the Board hired my replacement halfway through my notice period and let me go.
    – Threatened my spouse and my life with “the Glock in my car” over a difference of opinion over the budget. (Spouse and I had an escape route to the closest police station mapped and practiced.)

    6 months after my exit, she was fired for a violation of a federal law. I don’t know if she was ever prosecuted. The board members who ignored my questions about her behaviors were forced to resign in disgrace.

    1. Anonymouse*

      “Park her car” and “Glock in [her] car”.
      There are so many many ways you could have screwed up Amy’s professional life with those two bits of information.

  39. KuklaRed*

    While I am very glad that OP is out of that awful place and onto better things, I think I detect a whiff of ageism in her update. It feels like there is am implication that the reason horrible board member #1 is covering for the Awful Amy is that they are of a similar age/generation/etc. and that the sympathetic board member #2 is of OP’s generation, so that’s why he understands and is horrified.

    1. Just another anon*

      I felt similarly, and I am closer to LW’s age than Board Member 1’s age. LW seemed much more comfortable and open with 2, so I’m just hoping it’s due to a better rapport than ageism.

    2. A Wall*

      I mean… BM1 specifically said the only reason people have trouble with Amy is because they are younger than she and Amy are and that people who are younger than she and Amy are entitled and lazy. You’d have to snap your spine reaching in order to turn that into the LW being ageist again them.

      1. Just another anon*

        Well, to me, it’s because LW mentioned #2’s age at all and was more comfortable talking to him, while LW was clearly hesitant to be open and honest with #1. Which again, I would think could also just be a matter of rapport. But, #2 could be 90 and if he had any sense, he would see what a problem Amy is. #1 is definitely letting generational prejudice color her vision- I can’t imagine anyone would deny that. #1 was outrageously inappropriate.

      2. Former Young Lady*

        This. LW went out of her way NOT to mention anyone’s age in the original letter; she mentioned it as a matter of context this time because of the biased remarks the two older women made about her.

        Noticing the demographics of people who made biased remarks about your own demographic group is not prejudice. Making such remarks in the first place is.

    3. Certified Boomer*

      I read it as relevant because member #1 is more likely to be entrenched/invested/old guard, while the younger board member is more likely to be relatively new and interested in change. If member #1 has known Amy for yonks, and member #2 is coming in clean, that matters. Also member #1 definitely went after OP based on age, which could easily be accompanied by other behaviors that would make me less comfortable talking to her.

    4. feral fairy*

      She mentioned the ages of the board members and Amy because Board Member #1 used their conversation as an opportunity to harp on millenials while Board Member #2 who is closer in age to the LW was more sympathetic. In this case, the ages are relevant because the first board member made it about age. If anything, she was the ageist one. I can see how including the ages might be construed as ageist in other circumstances, but it seems like relevant information here.

  40. Kathlynn (Canada)*

    wonder how legal it would be for the 2nd board member to send a customer into the store ala secrete shopper with a recording device in the state the lw is in

  41. Elbie*

    I am thinking that there might be repercussions for both Amy AND Board Member #1. My guess is that Board Member #2 asked for it in writing because both Amy and Board Member #1 have given them cause for concern.

  42. Jennifer Juniper*

    As a forty-seven-year-old, I can say that I will always be too young to bash younger generations.

    Congratulations for dodging a machine-gun nest and finding a new job, LW!

  43. Green Goose*

    Good riddance indeed! I had a really, really awful manager, Mabel, years ago at a private school I worked at. She had no management training and seemed completely uninterested in working on any of her shortcomings, chronically disorganized, no knowledge of teaching or early childhood education, would reprimand staff in front of coworkers, would pull teachers out of class to leave kindergartens all alone for non-urgent matters, I could really go on but those are just a few. There was crazy turnover at the school specifically because of Mabel, and the year I left the entire teaching staff, literally every classroom teacher left.
    We had a teacher, Jane, come to cover classes for part of the semester because the head teacher had quit mid-year (I saw this happen twice during my year and a half at the school, very uncommon in the industry). Jane was really overqualified to work at the school and was pretty horrified by our manager and her lack of professionalism and decided to have a frank conversation with the manager when she left. She had nothing to lose and thought that Mabel might take her advice since she had so much more experience than her. Well, on Jane’s last day Mabel called her in for a final check-in and Jane laid out her concerns and some suggestions.
    She said that point by point Mabel would interject to ask who had told her this rumor about her. Jane was confused and kept saying, “no one said this, this is what I have observed”. And Mabel just kept turning it back to find the “culprit of the rumors”, so bizarre. Jane even tried talking to the school owner who had seemed more reasonable but she had a similar reaction to Board Member #1, “oh, that’s just how Mabel is” shrug. We all appreciated what Jane had tried to do but they seemed to want the ship to sink, which it did about two years later.

  44. germank106*

    I’m about a week away from my 60th Birthday and if I ever act like Board member #1 someone please slap me. I have led teams made up of different age groups for the last 20 years or so and I always find it amazing how each age group brings a whole different skill set to the table. Only once did I have a team member (in her 20s) ask me (early 50s when it happened) if I had a problem working with her because of her age. I gently explained that her age was not the problem, her not knowing basic aspects of the job was.
    I can’t figure out why board member #1 is protecting someone that is clearly toxic.

    1. LKW*

      The only thing I find disappointing in the younger generations is that they don’t always get my cultural references. The other day I told someone to just “pull an Alexander Haig” and then sadly told them it was a reference to an event from before they were born.

      Luckily they have google.

  45. Nope*

    I’m a baby boomer, and am “team LW”. Amy and Board member #1 are not representative of my generation. From their stereotyping of millennials and mocking use of terms like “safe spaces”, I have a sense these are the type of asshats who also refer to the media as “mainstream media” and believe Bill Gates created COVID so people would be forced to be vaccinated with a microchip, etc. etc. In other words, people like Board member #1 are absurdly irrational. If LW was the same age as them, they would have find some other reason to invalidate her experience. I’m with you LW!

  46. Dr.OO7*

    Somebody quit after an HOUR?!

    This reminds me of “The Sound Of Music”, when the Captain tells Maria, “I hope you’ll be an improvement over the last governess. She stayed only two hours.” Which makes you wonder just how horrible those children were.

  47. PlainJane*

    I don’t understand BM1’s weird flight into “kids today don’t work hard and need a safe space” attitude. I mean, even if she thinks that, I don’t see where “I had to put up with a constant stream of irrelevant nonsense” intersects with being willing or unwilling to work hard. (Unless the whole thing was phrased as “I was horribly triggered by everything” instead of “The person training me was inappropriate in every way”… maybe that could account for the response? Not excuse it, but maybe at least offer some explanation of the connection she was making, because I am baffled.)

    Ultimately, what it seems like to me is that you’re dealing with Amy’s old friend, and Amy is essentially under her patronage. There’s probably some ancient drama here (BM1 went to the mat to hire her old friend and her own honor is on the line if there’s a problem because of it), but that’s why I freaking hate drama. I think I’d have been the 1-hour employee. Well, except for the fact that I don’t have a financial fallback position, which means that more than likely, I’d just shut down, go through the motions and deal with feeling sick every night. I’m glad you had an option, because that sounds miserable.

  48. Missouri Girl in LA*

    I have worked with Boards all my career. 99% of board/commission members do not have a clue..not clue one…of their role with an organization (this also includes government boards/commissions and NGOs). Nothing. I have board members right now completely trying to micromanage a project because they think they can help. Please, for the love of all things holy, if you want to get on a board/commission, please, please understand your role and staff’s role (if there is staff). Please understand why you are there and be clear on why *you* want to be on this particular board. The horror stories I have about boards can fill up several pages because many just don’t understand their role. Board/Commission members can cause more problems by not having a clue about what their role is and cause costs to rise, staff to quit, and just plain inertia of anything the particular agency is trying to accomplish.

  49. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    My children’s school had an Amy-ish teacher (obviously not the oversharing type, but she had other serious flaws as a teacher) and my younger son got her in 7th grade. She’d pick a handful of favorites, and treat the rest horribly, hand out failing grades like they were candy, lose people’s homework and then fail them for missing HW etc. It got so bad that a group of parents had started a mass email, looped in the one lawyer parent, and were going to go as a group to the school board. (School board said “we can only hear you one at a time, don’t come as a group, set individual appointments instead” and that was the end of it.) Reason why I’m telling y’all about her is, I mentioned being dissatisfied with that teacher to my son’s gifted counselor, very meekly, once. Son was going to a specialist for ADHD testing, needed one teacher’s written assessment, and Gifted Counselor suggested Mrs. Amy. I asked if it could be literally any other teacher, because I did not trust Mrs. Amy to be objective in her assessment. GC flew off the handle. “I don’t know what to say to this.” (Midwest-speak for “you are full of s..t”.) “She is the best teacher we have.” “She’s up on stage every year receiving honor awards.” (Every year, the top 40 graduating seniors could each nominate three teachers, one from elementary school, one from middle, and one from high. These teachers would each get an award.) Fast forward two years and then again five years, when I sat through these awards ceremonies in both of my sons’ graduating classes. Not only was Mrs. Amy not on stage receiving them, she wasn’t even in the audience. No one had written her in, both years. GC wasn’t there either. I think she’d just pulled the story about Mrs. Amy’s annual awards out of thin air? That was top-level gaslighting for sure. I have to admire it on some level. I was reminded of it when I read about BM1 singing Amy praises (in face of facts stating the opposite, i.e. new hires quitting immediately after their training with Amy) and blaming everyone but Amy for Amy’s poor performance. I really do wonder why people cover for one another like that for no good reason and without any proof of the praises they are singing. Maybe BM1 was as bad as Amy and they had an unspoken(?) agreement to have each other’s back. Who knows? I don’t operate like that, so it’s a mystery to me.

  50. Firecat*

    What? Speaking up to board members who were being super cagey about why they were asking the OP every.single.time they saw here didn’t turn out to be rainbows and kittens? In fact all it achieved was inconvenience for the OP and called into question by at least one board member her judgement professionalism?

    How could we ever have known speaking up was going to achieve nothing for the OP and was unlikely to result in change. It’s a mystery I tell ya.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      Yeah, I kind of had hopes from the original story it wasn’t going to be The Usual, but at least with board member #1 it was definitely The Usual, i.e. Why Bother.

  51. CM*

    I am having horrible flashbacks to my own experience as a nonprofit arts board member! So so so much entitlement from wealthy board members who felt like they could order around the staff while also imagining that the staff was their best friends. So many longtime grudges no one would let go of. I sympathize with Board Member #2 who I’m guessing has been raising red flags about Amy only to be routinely dismissed by the other board members. I don’t know if it’s in the OP’s best interest to write this letter, though. In this position, I wouldn’t. I’d rather make a clean break, especially if you work with the trustees’ spouses and are likely to interact with them more in the future. Smile politely and back away from the dysfunction.

  52. Ann*

    Wow, Board Member 1 sounds like a nightmare, but hopefully, #2 actually follows through – he sounds like he’s actually looking out for other people and the organization. Many of the arts organizations I have experience have this stratified generational thing happening, where millennial and younger employees’ concerns are dismissed, and leadership can’t understand where the problems come from or don’t see them at all. So glad you got out.

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